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Discourses of conflict and collaboration and institutional context in the implementation of forest conservation policies in Soria, Spain

Abstract

This article examines the emergence of conflict and collaboration in the implementation of forest conservation policies in Soria, Spain. We draw insights from discursive institutionalism and use a comparative case study approach to analyse and compare a situation of social conflict over the Natural Park declaration in the Sierra de Urbión, and a civil society led collaborative process to develop management plans for the “Sierra de Cabrejas” in Soria. The implementation of the EU Habitats Directive generated different outcomes in these two cases, which unfolded in the context of the same nature conservation legislation and national and provincial administrative structures but differed in terms of types of forests involved, property rights arrangements and forest use histories. We critically examine the influence of the institutional context and dominant discourses on the emergence of outcomes: conflict emerged where local institutions and discourses were threatened by the EU directive, while collaboration was possible where local institutions and counter-discourses were weak. We find that the institutional context plays an important part in determining local discourses in the implementation of forest conservation policies. Yet local counter-discourses have limited influence in the implementation and policy processes in the face of contestation by the discourses of regional civil servants conservation activists.

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Correspondence to Mireia Pecurul-Botines.

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Communicated by Georg Winkel.

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Pecurul-Botines, M., Di Gregorio, M. & Paavola, J. Discourses of conflict and collaboration and institutional context in the implementation of forest conservation policies in Soria, Spain. Biodivers Conserv 23, 3483–3499 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-014-0823-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-014-0823-2

Keywords

  • Discursive institutionalism
  • Forest conservation
  • Conflict
  • Collaboration
  • Natura 2000
  • Policy outcomes
  • Path-dependency
  • Context