Who are legitimate stakeholders? National and local perceptions of environmental change in the Lofoten islands, Norway
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Debates on future resource policy in northern regions raises the question of who are the legitimate stakeholders to include in policy deliberations? The Lofoten archipelago in Northern Norway is a world-class nature tourism destination, the key spawning ground for North Atlantic cod as well as a reservoir of large unexploited offshore oil and gas deposits. We surveyed the resident Lofoten population and the larger Norwegian public to ascertain to what extent local and national perceptions of the value of selected environmental attributes and the importance of drivers of environmental change align across geographic scales. Lofoten residents and the national public both assign high value to environmental attributes, but local residents place more emphasis on harvesting marine and agricultural resources than the national public, which is more concerned with the status of individual species and conservation symbols. Our results show that the national public expresses so much interest in Lofoten that they should be considered a legitimate stakeholder in discussions about its future development paths, and while they relate to the area in a broadly similar way, there may be some specific areas of conflict that need to be considered.