Biodiversity conservation increasingly takes place outside protected areas in multiple-use landscapes. Success in achieving biodiversity objectives is closely linked to the extent to which conservation can be integrated with the cultural, social and economic objectives and aspirations of people. Beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and preferences about biodiversity are central to the decisions made by individuals and groups about natural resource management. In this project we will use hunting as a “lens” through which to examine the wider issue of how people interact with biodiversity. Hunting provides a valuable case study in the use of biodiversity because it involves tens of millions of people globally, it is conducted across a wide range of land tenure and use systems, and it is an important source of revenue and protein, particularly in developing countries. Hunting is embedded in social structures and cultural patterns and has a key role in conflicts over natural resource management around the world. Our multidisciplinary team will assess the social, cultural, economic and ecological functions and impacts of hunting across a range of contexts in Europe and Africa. Our study systems fall across economic gradients from the richest to the poorest countries and encompass environments from the Arctic to the Equator. We seek to understand what influences attitudes to hunting, how these attitudes influence and determine individual and societal behaviour in relation to hunting, and finally, how hunting behaviour influences biodiversity. Consequently, we will integrate social, economic and ecological scientific disciplines and engage with a diverse selection of stakeholders to develop novel approaches to the mitigation of natural resource conflicts involving hunting. Finally, our results will be interpreted in respect to current and future EU policy on hunting and biodiversity conservation and contribute to the global debate about the sustainable use of biodiversity.
Fields of science
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