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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 : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 293-303

Conservation, Human-Wildlife Conflict, and Decentralised Governance: Complexities Beyond Incomplete Devolution

Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA

Correspondence Address:
Rhianna R Hohbein
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_20_97

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Decentralisation of environmental governance (DEG) proliferated around the world in the 1990s, inspired, in part, by theories of common-pool resource governance that argued that local communities could sustainably manage valuable but non-excludable resources given a set of proper institutional design principles. However, many species of wildlife, such as predators that consume livestock or herbivores that destroy crops, are considered undesirable by local communities; this challenges the applicability of DEG models for managing wildlife in these contexts. Numerous scholars have proposed methods to generate economic value from locally undesired wildlife species to incentivise their conservation, but the overall success of these approaches has been mixed. We explore the intersection of DEG and the management of wildlife entangled in human-wildlife conflict and challenge the assumption that simple models of devolution and decentralisation will lead to the successful governance of wildlife in such circumstances. We argue that conflict species governance is potentially compatible with DEG but requires a fuller consideration of institutions at multiple scales than is typically included in common-pool resource theory or decentralisation. Multiple mechanisms of accountability may be especially important in securing the conservation of wildlife in conflict scenarios.

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