Developing an Integrated Conceptual Framework to Understand Biodiversity Conflicts

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Land Use Policy







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Although biodiversity-related conflicts are generally embedded into an ecological, economic and social context, reported studies often focus on only one of these aspects. The practical facilitation of such conflicts typically adopts an equally restricted view. The developing field of biodiversity conflict management is thus fragmented and, due to its generally insular case study approach, lacks theoretical underpinning. We propose a conceptual framework that, while it takes a social scientific viewpoint to reflect the inherently social nature of conflict between humans over natural resources, integrates social, economic and ecological factors to improve the understanding and management of biodiversity-related conflicts. The framework distinguishes between (i) factors that characterise the conflict and shape its dynamics and (ii) indicators that may be used to assess the potential for and severity of a conflict and its development over time. Factors serve to identify the main drivers of a conflict and enable comparison of conflicts over the same issue across sites and communities, as the relative impact of particular factors is likely to vary between cases. Indicators, in turn, result from the interplay between factors. They are characterised by different degrees of overtness and include attitudinal, behavioural and outcome-related indices. We show how this framework can serve to analyse conflicts, and how it could be developed further as a basis for modelling approaches. Principles of the framework are illustrated through its application to a specific biodiversity conflict in the Scottish uplands.


Originally published by Elsevier. Publisher's PDF and HTML fulltext available through remote link.