Séminaire au CEFE : Sharing space with large carnivores in a human-dominated continent – An analysis of coexistence patterns and trans-boundary management tools for Europe

Jeudi 31 janvier 11h,

grande salle de réunion

Vincenzo Gervasi – CEMEB post-doc at CEFE

(talk in English)

The recovery of large carnivores into human-dominated European landscapes is a challenging test of our ability to adapt lifestyles and practices to the demands of conserving biodiversity. The ongoing co-adaptation process often generates conflicts that are the subject of growing media debates and political polarization. In this debate, problems are raised and solutions proposed at different spatial scales, from the continental level of EU platforms to the local context of municipalities and rural communities. Finding a common ground for such different perspectives is a challenging, often frustrating effort.

            In order to provide a scientific contribution in this direction, we explored the spatial dynamics of human-large carnivore coexistence in Europe at different spatial scales. Firstly, we performed a continental-scale analysis of sheep depredation by large carnivores, and of the main ecological, historical and social factors driving the magnitude of the resulting depredation rates. We found that the ecological component of the depredation process, although relevant, explained only a minor portion of the difference in compensation rates among European countries, and that countries with a longer history of coexistence suffered reduced costs, when compared to those recently re-colonized by large carnivores.

            In a second phase we explored the issue at a finer spatial resolution, focusing on trans-boundary populations and on the case of wolverines in Scandinavia, shared between Norway, where they are hunted, and Sweden, where they are protected. We found that the mismatch between the scale of population processes and that of management actions caused a reduced effectiveness and increased costs on both sides of the administrative borders, frustrating the achievement of management goals both in Norway and in Sweden. On the other hand, local communities were affected to a different extent by national management decision, depending on their distance from the Norway-Sweden border.

            Both analyses highlighted the great challenge at the heart of the human-large carnivore coexistence process: the need to develop institutional structures and procedures that can simultaneously coordinate actions at international scales, while remaining flexible enough to deal with local level considerations and needs.

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