Ichiro Matsuo, M.Sc. (2002)

Thesis Title: Russian Model Forest in Local Forest Politics: A Case Study of the Creation of a National Park within the Gassinski Model Forest

Abstract: This thesis examines local people’s perception of the Gassinski Model Forest’s (GMF) projects and activities in relation to local involvement and public communication. The GMF is the first model forest in the Russian Federation. A case study describing the creation of a national park within the GMF territory has been adopted for designing this research.

For the purpose of this research, the term “local involvement” describes the inclusion of local people in the decision-making process and the term “public communication” refers to communication between the GMF and local people, including mass communications, word-to-mouth communications, and education. In order to collect information from local people in the region, a survey (personal interviews) was conducted.

According to the survey, more than 70% of the respondents are aware of the GMF. On the other hand, 61% of the respondents regard themselves as not being involved in the GMF. There are some statistical differences (alpha=0.05) observed between groups (categorized by demographic information and responses to questions such as “Do you know anything about the GMF?” and “Do you consider yourself to be involved in the GMF?”). The results of the survey show that the GMF’s projects and activities related to local involvement and public communication are perceived as insufficient by locals. Currently, the creation of a National Park within the GMF territory is being proposed, and lessons can be gained from the GMS’s experience with facilitating environmental and ecological education for local people.

Co-Supervisor: Dr. George Hoberg

Current Position: Journalist, The Asahi Weekly, Tokyo, Japan