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Bloemsma, Ruben, 2016. Increased public participation as a potential human : large carnivore conflict mitigation measure. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

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Abstract

Large carnivores are species that have a great impact on their environment. They influence their prey population directly by killing animals, and indirectly by affecting their behavior (e.g., feeding, vigilance and distribution). They are also known to affect people through induction of fear and controversy resulting often in conflicts between stakeholders. The life of people that live close to large carnivores is affected by their presence every day. Recently, wildlife managers and scientists are recognizing more and more the importance of stakeholder participation and responsibilities in the management of large carnivores to reduce conflict potential. Stakeholder engagement in wildlife management can be implemented by two general approaches. The top‐down approach, where stakeholder involvement in management decision making is low, and the bottom‐up approach were this is high.
Several studies have addressed the theory that public participatory processes increase conflict resolution potential of large carnivore management. However, to date, there has been limited empirical evidence to confirm the claim that conservation conflicts can be resolved through effective or more public participation. Therefore, I have attempted to evaluate how effective an increase of public participation and responsibility in the management of the four large carnivores of Europe is in mitigating conflicts. As an indicator of whether conflict potential is high or low for a given country, I have used general attitudes toward the four large carnivore species. A meta – analytic approach was chosen for this study.
I have found an indication that the mean positive attitudes toward the brown bear seem to be higher than toward the wolf. In addition, for the brown bear I have found indications that the mean positive attitudes toward the species increases as stakeholder involvement increases. Whereas for the wolf I did find this indication for the general public, but not for the public within large carnivore area. On top of that I have found indications of a general trend regarding the changes in natural resource management for the chronological time course (from 1950 – 2016) for the brown bear, wolf, and lynx. The expert authority + passive receptive approach seems to have dominated until the 1990’s. Starting from 2000, the transactional approach has emerged, indicating a general increase of stakeholder involvement of large carnivore management in Europe as time passes. The protection of the four large carnivores in Europe seems to have shifted from unprotected to protected over the years. For hunting regulation, a shift is visible from free to hunt and bounty hunts to no hunting at al. During the time periods of these changes, the Habitats Directive was implemented in Europe.
My results give an indication that attitudes are higher toward brown bears than toward wolves. This finding has been reported before. Suggested reasons behind this difference in attitudes are that wolves are more often perceived as a threat to livestock and competitor for big game, self‐reported fear and concern for oneself and others, knowledge about the species, and the allowance of hunting bears, but not wolves. In addition, I have found an indication that attitudes toward wolves among the public within large carnivore area do not increase when public involvement in the wolf governance increases, in contradiction to my finding for the brown bear. I suggest three possible explanations for these findings. Firstly, it could be that the current way of stakeholder engagement and involvement for wolf management fails to succeed in mitigating conflicts. Secondly, it could be that European laws, like the Habitats Directive, could limit the implementation of certain inputs from stakeholders in wolf governance. Finally, I suggest that as long as rural cultural values and stakeholder identities are not taken into account by the governance system, attitudes toward large carnivores could remain the same regardless of the level of stakeholder engagement in large carnivore governance.
However, one should interpret my results and conclusions with extreme caution. My study suffers from a great attitude data deficit. This is the main limitation that makes interpretations of my results unreliable due to a high potential of biased results and a lack of statistical testing. Nevertheless, my study sheds a light on subjects that can be useful to investigate in future studies.

Main title:Increased public participation as a potential human
Subtitle:large carnivore conflict mitigation measure
Authors:Bloemsma, Ruben
Supervisor:Ericsson, Göran
Examiner:Widemo, Fredrik
Series:Examensarbete i ämnet biologi / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2016:16
Year of Publication:2016
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:SM003 Management of Fish and Wildlife Populations - Master's Programme 120 HEC
Department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Keywords:brown bear, Ursus arctos, wolf, Canis lupus, lynx, Lynx lynx, wolverine, Gulo gulo, governance, stakeholder participation, protection, hunting regulation, attitudes toward brown bear; wolf; lynx; wolverine, meta-analysis
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-6158
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-6158
Subjects:Nature conservation and land resources
Language:English
Deposited On:18 Jan 2017 13:00
Metadata Last Modified:18 Jan 2017 13:00

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