The Role of Large Carnivore Committees in Legitimising Large Carnivore Management in Finland and Sweden

  • Jani Pellikka
  • Camilla Sandström


Many countries, including Sweden and Finland, are decentralizing the management of large carnivore species within their borders and emphasizing the role of stakeholder participation in legitimizing formal policy. Regional large carnivore committees (RLCCs), including representatives of authorities and non-governmental organizations, are essential to these endeavors. These committees are formally constituted in Sweden, whereas in Finland, they are informally developed from the bottom-up. In both countries, the declared roles of these committees are consultative. A comparative study based on survey data is described here, which address the question of how procedural legitimacy is shaped and maintained in institutional settings with different origins, such as top-down or bottom-up. The results indicate no clear difference in the representatives’ general satisfaction with the country-specific arrangements. Notable differences were found in specific perceptions of the clarity and purposes of the RLCCs. In both countries, the perceived rationale for the establishment of RLCCs emphasized the knowledge and expertise of the represented interest groups and authorities. Between the countries, similarities were also found in the strong links between overall satisfaction and personally perceived success and progress in communication and information exchange, i.e., deliberative processes. The capacity of the RLCCs to improve trust and acceptability with regard to different opinions was viewed as a key element underlying satisfactory RLCC activities, irrespective of the institutional settings.


Procedural legitimacy Large carnivores Governance Stakeholder participation Institutions 



We thank Dr. Outi Ratamäki for her cooperation and expertise in constructing the survey, the RLCCs’ secretaries for their help in providing information, and all of the respondents of the survey in Sweden and Finland for sharing their time and perceptions. We would also like to thank the two anonymous referees and Dr. Juha Hiedanpää for providing us with constructive comments and suggestions. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Academy of Finland (HIRSU-project) are acknowledged for funding this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geographical and Historical StudiesUniversity of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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