Human Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 485–493 | Cite as

Can Economic Incentives Resolve Conservation Conflict: The Case of Wild Deer Management and Habitat Conservation in the Scottish Highlands

  • Douglas Craig MacMillan
  • Sharon Phillip


Market-based economic incentives are increasingly perceived as a cost-effective approach to biodiversity conservation but empirical evidence to substantiate this claim is lacking. Using both qualitative and quantitative data analysis this paper investigates the potential role of market incentives to increase venison production as a mechanism to resolve conflicts over wild red deer management in the Scottish Highlands. Our analysis suggests the approach is unlikely to be effective because investments in venison production would bring conflict with more important non-pecuniary objectives of landownership such as ‘sporting quality’ and ‘exclusivity’. At a broader level we urge caution when considering the deployment of economic instruments to resolve contemporary conservation conflicts where profit maximisation is not the dominant objective and/or where the target group is extremely wealthy.


Economic incentives Conservation conflict Red deer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, School of Anthropology and ConservationUniversity of KentCanterburyUK
  2. 2.School of GeosciencesUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

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