The meaning and role of governance in sustainable development are examined in this detailed volume, with particular focus on territories classified as protected areas which are potential ecotourism destinations. Four key issues are addressed. First, how does multi-level governance shape the protection and reproduction of the nature-society relations in protected areas? Secondly what is the role of governance in the process of building an ecotourism destination and fostering more sustainable development paths in the protected areas hosting it? Thirdly how has governance for sustainable development crystallized in specific protected areas in Europe and the Americas and what has been the role of ecotourism in this process? Finally what lessons can be drawn for the future of sustainable territorial governance in general and in protected areas in particular?
To answer these questions case-studies in France, Portugal, Canada and Chile are analysed and compared by use of an enriched concept of sustainability, in which the social dimension is put at the centre. This means that collective action, negotiation, conflict resolution, innovation in social relations are not considered merely as the ingredients of a superseding socio-organizational structure. Rather they are the drivers of the multi-scalar governance of a protected area involving private, public and civil society actors, pursuing its future sustainable development.