Ensuring sustainable carnivore populations while simultaneously sustaining active and viable pastoral communities often creates conflicts that are difficult to resolve. This article examines how different knowledge systems meet and interact in large carnivore governance in Norway and Sweden.
Drawing on a broad range of sources, including observations in meetings, public documents, reports and interviews, and local and national newspaper clippings, the team studied two processes of regional carnivore management in Nordland, Norway and Jämtland, Sweden. They explored how different forms of knowledge have been mobilized, reproduced, transferred and legitimized in policies and regulations in the two processes.
The interplay between scientific and experience-based knowledge was examined at different levels and scales in both countries. In Norway, clear zoning has been established as a basic management instrument to achieve national population goals for carnivores.
The study shows how local knowledge (represented here through the Regional Large Carnivore Committee, which includes Sami Parliament representatives) was overruled by the national Ministry of Climate and Environment in 2016.
In Sweden, where the management of large carnivores is devolved to regional authorities and stakeholder-based Wildlife Management Delegations (WMDs), attempts to regionally solve conflicts are often overthrown by the national environmental protection agency or through court cases initiated by the environmental movement. Compromises that could potentially solve conflicts are thus undermined.
The study shows that while carnivore governance in both countries is founded on decentralized management at the regional level, local actors struggle to get their views, experiences and knowledge to be acknowledged and counted as valid in the management process.
While the decentralized management model opens for inclusion of different knowledge systems, this system has yet to deal with the challenge of knowledge being dismissed or marginalized across governance levels and scales.
Read the article in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (open access):
Knowledge claims and struggles in decentralized large carnivore governance: Insights from Norway and Sweden
By Annelie Sjölander-Lindqvist, Camilla Risvoll, Randi Kaarhus, Aase Kristine Lundberg & Camilla Sandström.