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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 130-140

Social-Natural Landscape Reorganised: Swedish Forest-edge Farmers and Wolf Recovery

Centre for Public Sector Research, University of Gothenburg, Box 720, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
Annelie Sjolander-Lindqvist
Centre for Public Sector Research, University of Gothenburg, Box 720, 405 30 Göteborg
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.58644

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The politics and the underlying reasons behind the recovery of the Scandinavian wolf population are increasingly contested. According to official policy, wolves should be guaranteed a place in the Swedish natural world. However, the conflict over whether Sweden should host a wolf population sets views on biodiversity and sustainable development against the perspective that local traditions and livelihoods are threatened by the return of wolves. These diverging environmental visions can be seen as competing interests and understandings of nature and wildlife. The desire of the state and nature conservation organisations to implement measures to provide conditions fostering wolf survival are counterbalanced by local action groups and community residents struggling to maintain conditions for conserving summer pastures, opportunities for hunting with sporting dogs, and other recreational activities such as mushroom- and berry-picking. Not only are these activities considered to have high natural and cultural value, the European Union (EU) has stated that small-scale farming is important for maintaining the landscape and safeguarding the survival of values associated with 'agri-environmental' habitats. The conflict between the interest groups is essentially about the access to and use of environmental resources. Squeezed between policies safeguarding wolf populations, preventing cruelty to animals and implementing activities required by the EU agricultural programme, farmers in areas with resident wolf populations have come to take part in processes that may reinforce rural identity.

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