We consider the extent to which the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) provides an opportunity for deliberative democracy to emerge within the context of resource management in Canada's North. The focus is on the extent to which the tenets of deliberative democracy are exercised in the environmental assessment (EA) of the Snap Lake diamonds project. Data collection included semi-structured interviews with assessment participants, and a review of documentation surrounding the EA process, and the case study. Results combined four principles of deliberative democracy: generality, autonomy, power neutrality, and ideal role taking. The EA conducted under the MVRMA can serve as a deliberative process, as illustrated by opportunities for dialogue, access to different perspectives, and learning outcomes. However, many of these positive results occurred through nonmandated technical sessions. The absence of participant funding also limits the deliberative potential of the MVRMA.
Natural resource (NR) exploitation often gives rise to conflict. While most actors intend to manage collectively used places and their NRs sustainably, they may disagree about what this entails. This article accordingly explores the origin of NR conflicts by analysing them in terms of competing pathways to sustainability. By comparing conflicts over mine establishments in three places in northern Sweden, we specifically explore the role of place-based perceptions and experiences. The results indicate that the investigated conflicts go far beyond the question of metals and mines. The differences between pathways supporting mine establishment and those opposing it refer to fundamental ideas about human-nature relationships and sustainable development (SD). The study suggests that place-related parameters affect local interpretations of SD and mobilisation in ways that explain why resistance and conflict exist in some places but not others. A broader understanding of a particular conflict and its specific place-based trajectory may help uncover complex underlying reasons. However, our comparative analysis also demonstrates that mining conflicts in different places share certain characteristics. Consequently, a site-specific focus ought to be combined with attempts to compare, or map, conflicts at a larger scale to improve our understanding of when and how conflicts evolve. By addressing the underlying causes and origins of contestation, this study generates knowledge needed to address NR management conflicts effectively and legitimately.
BioScene (scenarios for reconciling biodiversity conservation with declining agriculture use in mountain areas in Europe) was a three-year project (2002-2005) funded by the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme, and aimed to investigate the implications of agricultural restructuring and decline for biodiversity conservation in the mountain areas of Europe.The research took a case study approach to the analysis of the biodiversity processes and outcomes of different scenarios of agri-environmental change in six countries (France, Greece, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) covering the major biogeographical regions of Europe. The project was coordinated by Imperial College London, and each study area had a multidisciplinary team including ecologists and social and economic experts, which sought a comprehensive understanding of the drivers for change and their implications for sustainability.A key component was the sustainability assessment (SA) of the alternative scenarios. This article discusses the development and application of the SA methodology developed for BioScene. While the methodology was objectives-led, it was also strongly grounded in baseline ecological and socio-economic data. This article also describes the engagement of stakeholder panels in each study area and the use of causal chain analysis for understanding the likely implications for land use and biodiversity of strategic drivers of change under alternative scenarios for agriculture and rural policy and for biodiversity management. Finally, this article draws conclusions for the application of SA more widely, its use with scenarios, and the benefits of stakeholder engagement in the SA process.
Spatial prioritization could help target conservation actions directed to maintain both biodiversity and ecosystem services. We delineate hotspots and coldspots of two biodiversity conservation features and five regulating and cultural services by incorporating an indicator of 'threat', i.e. timber harvest profitability for forest areas in Telemark (Norway). We found hotspots, where high values of biodiversity, ecosystem services and threat coincide, ranging from 0.1 to 7.1% of the area, depending on varying threshold levels. Targeting of these areas for conservation follows reactive conservation approaches. In coldspots, high biodiversity and ecosystem service values coincide with low levels of threat, and cover 0.1-3.4% of the forest area. These areas might serve proactive conservation approaches at lower opportunity cost (foregone timber harvest profits). We conclude that a combination of indicators of biodiversity, ecosystem services and potential threat is an appropriate approach for spatial prioritization of proactive and reactive conservation strategies.
Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki. P.O. Box 65, 00014, University of Helsinki, Finland. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Peatlands that are close to a natural state are rich in biodiversity and are significant carbon storages. Simultaneously, peat resources are of interest to industry, which leads to competing interests and tensions regarding the use and management of peatlands. In this case study, we studied knowledge-management interactions through the development of participation and the resulting representation of nature (how nature was described), as well as the proposed and implemented conservation policy instruments. We focused on the years 2009-2015, when peatland management was intensively debated in Finland. We did an interpretative policy analysis using policy documents (Peatland Strategy; Government Resolution; Proposal for Conservation Programme) and environmental legislation as central data. Our results show how the representation of nature reflected the purpose of the documents and consensus of participants' values. The representation of nature changed from skewed use of ecosystem services to detailed ecological knowledge. However, simultaneously, political power changed and the planned supplementation programme for peatland conservation was not implemented. The Environment Protection Act was reformulated so that it prohibited the use of the most valuable peatlands. Landowners did not have the chance to fully participate in the policy process. Overall, the conservation policy instruments changed to emphasize voluntariness but without an adequate budget to ensure sufficient conservation.
The present knowledge of flora of Siberia is quite insufficient, which is a considerable obstacle to the detection of its biodiversity for conserving the gene pool. Planning conservation measures should be focused not only on species, but also on intraspecific taxa and their phylogenetic uniqueness. In the absence of genetic data, available morphological and geographical methods should be used, so that, when it is impossible to establish the actual origin and relationship of taxa, the existing morphological diverstity is at least represented, as far as it is known to be based on genetic diversity. Phenetic maps can be of much use in the study of intraspecific morphological diversity. The estimation of geographic variability and morphological diversity, as well as the evaluation of territories, can be based on such maps. To represent adequately the biodiversity existing within poorly studied, presumably hybrid plant groups, until actual origin and relationship are known, they should probably be forcedly and provisionally considered as a special type of hybrid complexes, representing the unclear present day taxonomic situation. Such complexes could include populations and individuals with morphological characters of two or more different species, until the systematic position of such populations and individuals is further explored. Until the actual taxonomic status and relationship of the components are established, they could be regarded as subspecies permitted by the Code, or as certain recorded morphological deviations from the type, without assigning any taxonomic status to them--depending on the available data on variability and distribution. In the future, the resulting provisional information on morphological diversity would help to concentrate the efforts of biologists, in possession of the newest methods, on the most important objects, and serve as the scientific base for effective measures aimed at the conservation and management of the vast gene pool of the Siberian flora.
Biotic homogenization due to replacement of native biodiversity by widespread generalist species has been demonstrated in a number of ecosystems and taxonomic groups worldwide, causing growing conservation concern. Human disturbance is a key driver of biotic homogenization, suggesting potential conservation challenges in seminatural ecosystems, where anthropogenic disturbances such as grazing and burning are necessary for maintaining ecological dynamics and functioning. We test whether prescribed burning results in biotic homogenization in the coastal heathlands of north-western Europe, a seminatural landscape where extensive grazing and burning has constituted the traditional land-use practice over the past 6000 years. We compare the beta-diversity before and after fire at three ecological scales: within local vegetation patches, between wet and dry heathland patches within landscapes, and along a 470 km bioclimatic gradient. Within local patches, we found no evidence of homogenization after fire; species richness increased, and the species that entered the burnt Calluna stands were not widespread specialists but native grasses and herbs characteristic of the heathland system. At the landscapes scale, we saw a weak homogenization as wet and dry heathland patches become more compositionally similar after fire. This was because of a decrease in habitat-specific species unique to either wet or dry habitats and postfire colonization by a set of heathland specialists that established in both habitat types. Along the bioclimatic gradient, species that increased after fire generally had more specific environmental requirements and narrower geographical distributions than the prefire flora, resulting in a biotic 'heterogenisation' after fire. Our study demonstrates that human disturbance does not necessarily cause biotic homogenization, but that continuation of traditional land-use practices can instead be crucial for the maintenance of the diversity and ecological function of a seminatural ecosystem. The species that established after prescribed burning were heathland specialists with relatively narrow geographical ranges.
This paper focusses on a conceptual overview of ways to address a comprehensive analysis of ecosystem services (ES) in a country as large and heterogeneous as Russia. As a first step, a methodology for assessing the services for the federal subjects of Russia was chosen, i.e., its constituent provinces and similar entities, in physical terms. Russia harbors a great diversity of natural conditions and ecosystems which are suppliers of ES, and likewise a variety of the socio-economic conditions that shape the demand for these services and their consumption. The methodological approach described permits several important tasks to be addressed: the evaluation of the degree of satisfaction of people's needs for ES, the identification of ecological donor and acceptor regions, and zoning of the country's territory for ES assessment. The next step is to prepare a prototype of a National Report on ES in Russia, for which we are presenting the planned structure.
Ecosystem services (ES) is a valuable concept to be used in the planning and management of social-ecological landscapes. However, the understanding of the determinant factors affecting the interaction between services in the form of synergies or trade-offs is still limited. We assessed the production of 16 ES across 62 municipalities in the Norrstr?m drainage basin in Sweden. We combined GIS data with publically available information for quantifying and mapping the distribution of services. Additionally, we calculated the diversity of ES for each municipality and used correlations and k-means clustering analyses to assess the existence of ES bundles. We found five distinct types of bundles of ES spatially agglomerated in the landscape that could be explained by regional social and ecological gradients. Human-dominated landscapes were highly multifunctional in our study area and urban densely populated areas were hotspots of cultural services.
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