Using Conservation Conflict Transformation as a Framework to Address Social Conflict Over Wildlife in a Swedish County
Abstract: In Europe, and throughout the world, the return and preservation of large carnivores isescalating tensions between stakeholder groups, as well as between local actors andauthorities. While wolf conservation efforts have generally been accepted across Swedishauthorities, nature organizations, and the public, there are others who argue that thepreservation of wolves is threatening local values and traditions. Despite policies aimedto reduce conflict surrounding wildlife management in Sweden, tensions seem to haveintensified.This research aims to investigate conflict regarding wildlife management in Sweden witha focus on the county of Västra Götaland, done through interviews with different levelsof wildlife management. This research asks what an analysis of wildlife management saysabout whether the current collaborative governance model favors conflict resolution ornot? Additionally, the research asks how an analysis of the conflict using theConservation Conflict Transformation (CCT) framework can contribute to transformingthe conflict? An abductive approach using the CCT framework and Human Needs Theorywas used to assess the human dimensions that could be driving conflict, and to provide aframework for practical next steps.Guided by a theoretical framework that focuses on addressing human needs to resolvedeep-rooted conflicts, the results revealed that missing factors such as influence, trust,reasoned debate, and legitimacy are influencing the controversy surrounding wildlifemanagement. A process that addresses the underlying drivers of conflict - amongstauthorities and a wider range of affected stakeholders - is necessary to reconciledifferences and establish a more sustainable, effective wildlife management structure.
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