Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 585-596

First online:

Design solutions to coastal human-wildlife conflicts

  • Meredith Root-BernsteinAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile Email author 
  • , Nicolás Arévalo RosasAffiliated withSchool of Architecture and Design, Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile
  • , Layla P. OsmanAffiliated withInstituto de Ecología y Evolución, Universidad Austral de Chile
  • , Richard J. LadleAffiliated withSchool of Geography and the Environment, Oxford UniversityDepartment of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Universidade Federal de Viçosa

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Coastal areas can be a challenge for conservation due to multiple competing land uses including development, tourism, and extractive resource use. These multiple land uses often lead to human-wildlife conflicts. Here we propose that collaboration with industrial designers and architects has the potential to generate innovative and effective solutions to coastal human-wildlife conflicts. Many products for modifying animal behavior are already used by conservationists, such as barriers, corridors, and model predators. We propose that their effectiveness, quality, harmonization with local values, and integration with the designed human environment can be improved through collaboration with designers and architects. We illustrate this approach with a case study. We engaged in an industrial design- conservation collaboration focused on the design of multiple product proposals that would support a range of human-sea lion interactions in public parks and the fish market in Valdivia, Chile. The sea lions in Valdivia are a tourist attraction but also potentially dangerous. We produced images of seven proposed products of varying scales, facilitating a range of different sea lion- human interactions. Such collaborations can be useful for developing products that reduce human-wildlife conflicts and align conservation and management with local values. We urge researchers to publish conservation design proposals as well as tests of existing conservation products’ functionality, in order to improve conservation design practice around the world.


Sea lion Conservation design Tourism Coastal conservation Coastal management