European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity

Authors: Scott Brainerd


The article discusses European policies and rules related to hunting and biodiversity conservation.

The main focus is on sustainable hunting practices that benefit the environment, economy, and society. The European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity offers guidelines for various stakeholders, including regulators, managers, hunters, and hunting tour operators.

Charter’s Key Principles

1. Multi-level governance

This principle emphasizes the importance of considering conservation at different levels, from international to local and creating policies that accommodate varying ecological conditions, cultural demands, and higher-level policies.

It encourages regulators, managers, hunters, and hunting tour operators to work together in reducing conflicts between hunting and other conservation interests, rewarding best practices, and regulating against malpractices.

2. Easy-to-understand regulations

Clear and easily comprehensible regulations are crucial for compliance. This principle calls for the formulation of simple, flexible, and logical regulations that address biological principles, policy, socio-economic context, and stakeholder concerns.

3. harvest is ecologically sustainable

Sustainable hunting requires maintaining species populations at levels that can support harvest without compromising their long-term conservation status.

This principle underscores the need for adaptive management strategies, taking into account species behavior, ecology, and conservation status.

4. Maintaining wild populations of indigenous species

Native species and their habitats can be negatively impacted by invasive alien species or human selection for specific traits that may jeopardize their long-term viability.

This principle emphasizes the importance of preserving indigenous species and their genetic diversity, ensuring that human activities do not lead to adverse effects on their populations or habitats.

5. healthy environments for harvestable species

Maintaining healthy environments for harvestable species is a key principle to ensure sustainable hunting and conservation.

This involves taking measures to protect the habitats and ecosystems that support these species while minimizing the negative impacts of human activities.

6. economic incentives for conservation

Providing economic incentives for conservation is a key strategy to motivate stakeholders to preserve wild species and their habitats.

Recognizing the inherent economic value of wildlife and natural resources can encourage sustainable use and improve conservation efforts.

7. proper utilization and avoid wastage

The principle of ensuring proper utilization and avoiding wastage focuses on making the most of renewable resources while demonstrating respect for the environment and minimizing negative impacts such as bio-pollution.

Utilizing resources to their fullest extent maximizes economic incentives for local communities and promotes sustainable use.

8. Empower local stakeholders

The principle of empowering local stakeholders and holding them accountable recognizes the importance of local knowledge, monitoring, and adaptive management for effective conservation efforts.

It aims to involve and hold local stakeholders, such as hunters and other resource users, responsible for meeting the requirements of conservation and resource beneficiaries.

9. Encourage competence and responsibility among users of wild resources

The principle of encouraging competence and responsibility among users of wild resources emphasizes the importance of having knowledgeable, skilled, and responsible hunters and other users of wild resources.

This helps ensure that practices are ecologically and socially sustainable, minimizing negative impacts on wildlife populations and habitats.

10. Minimize avoidable suffering by animals

The principle of minimizing avoidable suffering by animals emphasizes the importance of ensuring that hunting practices are socially sustainable and ethically responsible.

It promotes treating game animals with respect and using methods and equipment that minimize pain and distress whenever possible.

11. Cooperation between stakeholders

The principle of cooperation between stakeholders in managing harvested species and habitats emphasizes the importance of collaboration among various parties, including authorities, state agencies, landowners, hunters, other resource users, and conservation interests.

12. acceptance of sustainable hunting as a conservation tool

The principle of encouraging acceptance of sustainable hunting as a conservation tool highlights the need for society to recognize and appreciate the role of responsible hunting in conserving wildlife and their habitats.

Hunters and conservationists share the common goal of maintaining healthy wildlife populations, and both groups need to work together to educate the public about the importance of wildlife conservation.


In conclusion, the principles and guidelines outlined in the European Charter on Hunting aim to promote responsible and sustainable hunting practices that contribute to wildlife conservation and the overall well-being of ecosystems.

The Charter seeks to create a harmonious relationship between hunting activities and wildlife conservation efforts. By adhering to these principles, hunters, regulators, managers, and other stakeholders can work together to preserve biodiversity and ensure the long-term sustainability of wildlife populations and their habitats.