First prize ATLAS 2022 Master Thesis Award for Noémie Bernardin

July 20, 2022

Noémie Bernardin, who graduated with a master’s degree in Tourism, Society and Environment at WUR, was awarded the ATLAS 2022 Master thesis first prize.

Title of her thesis: Understanding attitudes towards recreational regulations in protected nature areas. A case-study of the Gorges de Daluis Nature Reserve, France. Supervisor: Maarten Jacobs (Cultural Geography Group).

The jury concluded:"Noémie’s thesis focuses on understanding attitudes towards recreational regulations in protected nature areas. Her thesis is well structured, based on a distinctive literature review and on a sample of 402 questionnaires. The methodology is well justified and of exceptional level. The jury liked the originality and freshness of the topic and felt that the author has been rigorous in her approach to the research and the writing up of her findings. All in all a very useful study, as well as a theoretically sophisticated piece of work.”

Abstract thesis: The implementation of regulations in protected nature areas is often met with opposition and many conservationists have difficulties fostering voluntary compliance among their visitors. This thesis seeks to investigate factors associated with acceptance and opposition to regulations and to identify which can best predict attitudes. To do so, this research tests and compares the predictive power of general and place-specific factors measuring uses and non-uses of nature areas. The effects of the visitors’ place of residency and frequency of visitation are also considered. Multiple regression analyses run on 334 surveys filled in by the visitors of the Gorges de Daluis Nature Reserve revealed that, together, the variables predicted up to half of the variance in attitudes. Based on the results, it is concluded that uses are associated with opposition and non-uses with acceptance of regulations, that place-specific factors inform better on visitors’ attitudes than general factors, and that residency and visitation inform on visitors’ attitudes but have limited moderation effects.

Congratulations to Noémie for receiving this award!

More info on the ATLAS PRIZE:

Link to the thesis in the WUR library: