, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 133-147

The role of knowledge and spatial contexts in biodiversity policies: a sociological perspective

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Abstract

In policy processes, ‘biodiversity’ has been broadened into a holistic notion uniting a variety of cultural, social and economic issues with the biological conservation issue. Therefore, the formation of biodiversity conservation into concrete policy goals appears rather difficult. In this paper, we aim to explore the political implications and consequences of the strong dependency on science of the biodiversity issue. Concentrating especially on environmental policy options, we also examine the ‘globalization’ and ‘localization’ processes in the case of biodiversity. In spite of several controversial features and of an evident lack of knowledge on biological diversity, the issue undoubtedly has significant political strengths. However, from the viewpoint of research on environmental policies, the role of scientific knowledge in decision making should be recognized as an open empirical question depending on the concrete contexts of the decision-making process. Further, it is concluded that the concepts relating to global environment are objects of a continuous localization. Thus, any moral-technocratic solutions emphasizing simply ‘universal interests’ as the basis for global biodiversity management must be met with caution. In future research there is a need for concrete case studies in order to clarify the local conditions and opportunities of biodiversity policies.