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The vertical dimension:

Interplay between institutions at different levels, and the influence of international policies on local governance


Managing large ungulates in Europe - the need to address institutional challenges of wildlife management

Camilla Sandström


The management of large ungulates in Europe has received a lot of attention recently, due to the strong increase in numbers of the 20 species that live in European countries. The current number of ungulates stands at more than 15 million, which means that they have a large impact on European landscapes and are in many cases regarded as overabundant. Table 1 summarises a number of factors affecting the possibilities to stabilise, or reduce the numbers of animals to levels accepted by society. To address these factors, management approaches, such as the landscape approach via the European Landscape Convention (ELC) or ecosystem management through the Convention of Biodiversity (CBD) are suggested as solutions.

Factors affecting the success of large ungulate management in Europe according to Appolonio et al. 2010

  • Lack of clarity of management objectives and lack of coordination between different land-use interests to agree on appropriate management objectives.
  • Lack of coordination of management objectives between neighbouring (local or regional) management units.
  • Lack of coordination between countries in cases where ungulates roam across borders.
  • Problems related to scale, i.e. a mismatch of management areas within an actual biological range of ungulate species, so that management is not coordinated across the population’s biological range.
  • Problems caused by inappropriate legislation.
  • Inadequate monitoring systems of ungulate numbers and their impact.
  • Failure to set adequate hunting quotas in relation to population densities and dynamics.
  • Failure of management units to achieve hunting quotas, even when these are set.
  • Lack of knowledge regarding possible effects of selective harvesting.
  • The study builds on an institutional analysis of the standards and the operational guidelines of the ELC and the CBD.

Key findings

The two approaches shows many similarities, but differ in their focus on either contextual factors affecting landscapes (ELC) or maintenance of ecosystem processes, functions and services (CBD).
The two approaches could be regarded as complementary rather than competing. Although some of the management problems (se above) will be solved through the implementation of these approaches, they do not give any guidance on how to coordinate across scales and levels to generate collective action. Furthermore, complex property rights systems often constrain the required collaboration and coordination among actors involved in the management of wildlife. However, the robustness of the governance arrangements is strongly dependent on voluntary efforts – and thus also to the various incentives of different actors - to establish collective action for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.


To implement landscape management or ecosystem-based management, as suggested by the ELC and the CBD, will require new institutional solutions to deal with coordination across management units and management levels.

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Large scale policy changes and their impacts on sporting and game management discourses in Scotland

Liz Dinnie and Anke Fischer


A large part of the Scottish countryside is traditionally managed for shooting and stalking. However, recent policy changes at both national and European levels reflect an increasing diversity of both public and private land management objectives. This has resulted in the creation of new formal institutions (i.e. rules) governing land and game management, and the inclusion of actors from both the public sector and NGOs who have previously not had much say in countryside matters.

Here, we investigate:

  • The interplay between traditional and newly emerging institutions governing game management
  • Game managers’ responses to these policy changes (link to WP1).

To do so, we combined:

  • a policy analysis
  • a document analysis of six relevant organisations’ responses to the Wildlife and Natural Environment (WANE) Bill consultation
  • interviews and group discussions with 19 individuals active in field sports and game management.

Key findings

  • New institutions governing wildlife management, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, EU directives and their translation into national policy, seem to have developed in parallel to the formal and informal institutions that have previously governed game management in Scotland. They appear poorly reconciled with existing institutions, such as property rights to the land, and are thus not necessarily effective.
  • Game managers and their organisations consider public interests to be increasingly influential.
  • Some of them feel “under siege” and see their activities threatened and their rights compromised by growing public claims to the countryside and its wildlife.
  • Game managers argue that recent policies for game management are generated by international, non-local or urban actors who lack ‘true’ knowledge of the way the countryside works. They contend that they, as game managers, hold the appropriate knowledge – a knowledge that cannot be acquired, e.g., through college studies.
  • Some game managers argue that recent policies might not be based on the right knowledge. However, this line of thinking has an exclusive and irrefutable character: Because appropriate knowledge cannot be obtained by outsiders, they are by definition not (and will never be) entitled to have a say in countryside matters.
  • This line of argument unites individuals across different types of estates and sporting activities.


The lack of reconciliation between traditional and more recent institutions combined with a strong discourse that asserts knowledge-based claims of game managers could explain why recent conservation policies have so far had a comparatively limited influence on Scottish land management. Both factors need to be addressed if tensions between sporting and institutionalised conservation are to be resolved.