Since opening for submissions in June this year, People and Nature have been excitedly tracking the progress of the diverse range of papers we have received.
Without a doubt they have been thought provoking, enigmatic at times, and displaying a rich research environment that working cross-disciplines allows. We have been happy to see submissions coming from 24 countries and hope this will expand as we do.
The day has finally come for the first paper. Published today and in tandem with our annual meeting:
Value diversity and conservation conflict: Lessons from the management of red grouse and hen harriers in England
Freya St John, Janna Steadman, Gail Austen, Steve Redpath
Our first paper published investigates a controversial topic: The persistent conflict between communities working to conserve numbers of hen harriers and those maintaining commercial hunting of red grouse in the English uplands. Drawing on work conducted in psychology, the paper explores the underlying values that hunters and conservationists hold that make it so hard to find shared solutions.
Authors from Bangor University and the University of Aberdeen surveyed a range of organisations that represent the interests of field sports (i.e. hunting, shooting, fishing) or nature conservation in England to assess their attitudes towards hen harriers, grouse shooting and potential management interventions.
Dr Freya St John from Bangor University said: “We found that people who are involved in field sports and those engaged in bird conservation hold more or less opposing views about human relationships with nature, challenging our ability to find solutions.”
“Although there is general agreement about the evidence of the ecological relationships between hen harriers and grouse, there is much less agreement about the best approach to manage them.”
There is currently no formal dialogue process in place to support conflict management between those from shooting organisations and individuals affiliated with pro-raptor and/or pro-bird organisations, leading St John to add:
“We should be considering this as a conflict between people over the management of wildlife, instead of a conflict between humans and wildlife as implied by the widely-used and misleading term, human-wildlife conflict”
The researchers highlighted that attitudes can change, although very slowly and rarely in response to specific interventions. Moreover, where attitudes are related strongly to underlying values, as they were found in this study, they can be difficult to change.
We are very proud of the authors and the editors for the amount of work they put in to get us to this stage.
Steve will present the findings at the BES annual meeting on Wednesday at 1.30pm.