The emergence of biodiversity conflicts from biodiversity impacts: characteristics and management strategies
Conflicts between the conservation of biodiversity and other human activities occur in all habitats and can impact severely upon socio-economic and biological parameters. In a changing environment, with increasing pressure on ecosystem goods and services and increasing urgency for biodiversity conservation, these conflicts are likely to increase in importance and magnitude and negatively affect biodiversity and human well-being. It is essential, however, to better understand what is meant by ‘biodiversity conflicts’ in order to develop ways to manage these effectively. In view of the complexity of the social and ecological contexts of conflicts, this paper explores ‘biodiversity impacts’ linked to agricultural, forestry and other sectoral activities in the UK. The paper then describes the transition from ‘biodiversity impacts’ to ‘biodiversity conflicts’, illustrating this concept with specific examples. While generalisations relating to conflict management are made difficult by their unique contextual settings, this paper suggests approaches for their management, based on the experiences of scientists who have been involved in managing conflicts. We consider the role of science and scientists; trust and dialogue; and temporal and spatial scales in biodiversity conflicts and highlight the combined role they play in successful biodiversity conflict management. Recommendations are also made for future research on biodiversity conflicts in a changing environment.