The environmental movement, called social environmentalism, was a pioneer in recognizing the intrinsic connection between social and environmental issues and presents an important role in Brazilian civil society in defending the rights of traditional peoples. The Sustainable Development Reserve (Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentável RDS) is essentially a socio- environmental category, as it incorporates the objectives of conservation, actions for social inclusion, valuing local knowledge and practices of environmental management. This study aimed to investigate the environmental perception and the level of the population involvement related to RDS Ponta do Tubarão, located in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. Open and semi-structured interviews (n = 262) were conducted and content analysis showed that most of those interviewed attributed importance to protected areas; however, a high level of dissatisfaction was noted with its management and ignorance towards their objectives; numerous environmental conflicts were detected, especially the prohibition of construction, and alternatives were proposed to improve the quality of local life. This study leads to a reflection of the management practice of protected area study and hope that this data can support the local management plan and minimize the socio-environmental conflicts in the area.
traditional peoples; environmental perception; social environmentalism