The designation of natural protected areas is one of the main avenues followed by governmental authorities to cope with the global loss of natural and cultural biodiversity around the world. Natural protected areas are meant to be a tool for ensuring the continuity of fragile ecosystems and the future availability of limited natural resources. A major barrier to the institution of natural protected areas is often represented by the specific opposition of local residents and local communities, for whom a protected area may represent a concrete loss of “freedom” or an obstacle to daily economic activities (Bonaiuto, Carrus, Martorella & Bonnes, 2002; McNeely, 1995; Pretty & Pimbert, 1995; Stoll-Kleeman, 2001; West & Brechin, 1991). Therefore, the need for local community participation in order to achieve “sustainable” uses of biodiversity has been frequently stressed by natural scientists, environmental managers and intergovernmental agencies (Eisto, Hokkanen, Ohman & Repola, 1999; Alfsen-Norodom & Lane, 2002). The psychological processes driving people’s response to the designation of natural protected areas are then a worthy issue in the environment-behavior domain. Nonetheless few empirical contributions addressed it in the environmental psychological literature (Bonaiuto et al., 2002; Stoll-Kleeman, 2001; Corraliza, Garcia Navarro & Valero, 2002). The aim of the present paper is to investigate the relations among environmental concern, local identity, and support for newly instituted natural protected areas. Basing on Social Identity Theory (Brown, 2000) and on recent empirical evidence showing a positive relation between place-identity and environmentally friendly conducts (Uzzell, Pol & Badenas, 2002; Stedman, 2002; Vorkinn & Riese, 2001), it was hypothesized that both pro-environmental attitudes (general and specific) and local identity should predict people’s support for new natural protected areas. Two field studies were conducted in Italy to test this assumption. In study 1 (N = 316) Hierarchical Regressions were performed to assess the role of general environmental concern, attitudes towards protected areas in general, regional identity, and socio-demographic variables in predicting support for a specific protected area. In study 2 Structural Equation Modeling (N = 157) was used to replicate in a different regional context the findings of study 1. Results of both studies confirm the expected positive role of pro-environmental attitudes (both general and specific), as well as the expected positive role of local identity, in predicting people’s support for the protected areas considered. Implications of the results for policy-making strategies aiming at enhancing public levels of consensus in the designation and management of natural protected areas are discussed.