The Problematic Wolf

  • Juha Hiedanpää
  • Daniel W. Bromley


Finland joined the European Union in 1995 and since that time, the European Commission (EC) has shown growing impatience with Finland’s compliance with EU rules concerning the protection of wolves and other large carnivores. In 2005, the Commission referred the matter to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which subsequently found Finland deficient in the strict protection of wolves. We investigate the reasons underlying the court case. We identify two problems in the realm of reason giving. The first problem arises from the lack of a causal model linking decentralized actions on the part of the subjects of administrative rules with the desired outcomes imagined by the centralized entities issuing the new administrative rulings. The second problem arises from the authoritarian tendencies of the EU that fail to understand the context of wolves for rural livelihoods in Finland. Both of these problems give rise to surprising practical effects emerging from the harmonization game. We introduce the concept of instrumentality with respect to the goal of sustainable wolf populations. We also introduce the concept of inverse high-grading of wolves under the umbrella of biodiversity protection. The EU and the people of rural Finland will continue to struggle over wolves until a more coherent policy goal, and a more defensible administrative rule structure, can be formulated.


European Union Large Carnivore Habitat Directive Wolf Population Great Cormorant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juha Hiedanpää
    • 1
  • Daniel W. Bromley
    • 2
  1. 1.Natural Resources Institute FinlandFinlandFinland
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin-MadisonWisconsinUSA

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