Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (10): 1266-1275.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020011

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Educational use in global national parks: Review and implications

Dongjun Chen1,2, Linsheng Zhong1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2020-01-09 Accepted:2020-04-19 Online:2020-10-20 Published:2020-10-20
  • Contact: Linsheng Zhong


Education is one of the most important functions of national parks, and its use in national parks is underscored by the parks’ characteristics of public welfare and national ownership. China’s national park system was established only recently. Consequently, the practice and theory of educational use in China’s national parks is poorly understood. We analyze the available literature using the core compilation of Web of Science to systematically review educational use in national parks globally and to establish further research directions that can be pursued in China. Research on educational use in national parks has developed rapidly since the 21st century. Most relevant literature was published in environmental science and earth science journals. Research on educational use mainly focus on educational resources assessment, purpose, management, effectiveness, and their influencing factors. National parks are rich in educational resources, and the evaluation of educational potential and suitability are necessary for their appropriate utilization, protection, and management. Education mainly seeks to protection support, buffer community conflicts, provide cultural services, and increase visitor safety. The use of diversified media for education, targeted educational materials, and favorable cooperation are important factors that maximize the effectiveness of education programs. The evaluation of educational effectiveness on the cognition/awareness, emotions/attitudes, and behaviors is mainly influenced by individual characteristics and educational management. International research on educational use of national parks develop interdisciplinary theories, qualitative and quantitative comprehensive applications of research methods, and rich research content across a wide range of fields. Our review suggests that China should strengthen research and evaluation of educational resources, construct a set of educational content systems, use a diversity of educational approaches and media, facilitate educational cooperation and management, evaluate educational effectiveness programs, and analyze additional factors influencing educational use.

Key words: national park, educational function, educational value, educational use, research progress