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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2020

The place of nature in conservation conflicts

Chapron, Guillaume; Lopez-Bao, Jose Vicente


Conservation conflicts are gaining importance in contemporary conservation scholarship such that conservation may have entered a conflict hype. We attempted to uncover and deconstruct the normative assumptions behind such studies by raising several questions: what are conservation conflicts, what justifies the attention they receive, do conservation-conflict studies limit wildlife conservation, is scientific knowledge stacked against wildlife in conservation conflicts, do conservation-conflict studies adopt a specific view of democracy, can laws be used to force conservation outcomes, why is flexibility needed in managing conservation conflicts, can conservation conflicts be managed by promoting tolerance, and who needs to compromise in conservation conflicts? We suggest that many of the intellectual premises in the field may defang conservation and prevent it from truly addressing the current conservation crisis as it accelerates. By framing conservation conflicts as conflicts between people about wildlife or nature, the field insidiously transfers guilt, whereby human activities are no longer blamed for causing species decline and extinctions but conservation is instead blamed for causing social conflicts. When the focus is on mitigating social conflicts without limiting in any powerful way human activities damaging to nature, conservation-conflict studies risk keeping conservation within the limits of human activities, instead of keeping human activities within the limits of nature. For conservation to successfully stop the biodiversity crisis, we suggest the alternative goal of recognizing nature's right to existence to maintenance of ecological functions and evolutionary processes. Nature being a rights bearer or legal person would imply its needs must be explicitly taken into account in conflict adjudication. If, even in conservation, nature's interests come second to human interests, it may be no surprise that conservation cannot succeed.


large carnivores; nature conservation; politics and policy; threatened species

Publicerad i

Conservation Biology
2020, Volym: 34, nummer: 4, sidor: 795-802
Utgivare: WILEY

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