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Doctoral thesis2011Open access

Role of planners and public participation in planning for biodiversity

Blicharska, Malgorzata


The European Union (EU) is committed to conserving biodiversity, both in terms of natural and cultural legacies, and also to limiting biodiversity loss. Relevant policies have underlined the importance of considering ecological and social issues, as well as the complex relations between the two spheres in conservation of biodiversity. These policies have clear implications for all sectors responsible for planning for biodiversity conservation. In order to be consistent with international legislation, it is necessary to move beyond protected areas and include biodiversity conservation considerations in planning activities of various sectors, and also to involve relevant stakeholders in the planning process. This is in line with the landscape approach to planning that has recently been advocated in research and practical planning. The landscape approach has a holistic perspective that encompasses both ecological and social considerations. This thesis focuses on the implementation of policies regarding biodiversity conservation and public participation; that is, the ecological and social dimensions of spatial planning in landscapes. In particular, I examine the role of people, such as planners implementing policies and other stakeholders who might influence biodiversity conservation. The studies within this thesis concern Poland and Sweden, and three sectors: regional, road and forestry planning. The thesis is comprised of four papers. Paper I deals with planners working to implement biodiversity and public participation policies. Paper II concentrates on the issues of stakeholder involvement in the Environmental Impact Assessment of road planning. Paper III investigates a specific conflict that influenced the conservation of biodiversity in an important biodiversity hotspot. Paper IV is a conceptual paper that discusses the tools used to integrate ecological and social dimensions when implementing the European Landscape Convention. The studies included in this thesis reveal that successfully implementing biodiversity conservation and public participation policies may require more than just ecological knowledge about how biodiversity should be maintained, and more than just formal guidelines regarding how the public should be treated in the planning process. In addition, the role of people who may influence the planning and decision making processes is crucial. Accordingly, there is a need for two key developments. Firstly, planners and the general public should be properly educated about conservation-related issues. Secondly, various incentives should be introduced that influence the behaviour and, in the longer term, the attitudes of the people who may affect biodiversity.


biodiversity; nature conservation; landscape; planning; participation; european union

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2011, number: 2011:67ISBN: 978-91-576-7611-5Publisher: School for Forest Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Management

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