Experiences with participatory conservation in post-socialist europe

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Abstract

Conservation of the unique biodiversity of post-socialist Europe is challenged by rapid social and institutional change, and emerging conflicts between traditions of centralised decision making and new public values and concerns. While global changes in conservation philosophy offer more participatory models that might help, post-socialist countries have neither the robust civil society nor traditions of community resource management on which such models are founded. Instead, new approaches are being explored. This introductory paper describes the background to the five case studies portrayed in this special issue, and reflects on the wider setting of a symposium which analysed and documented these experiences for the first time. 'Participation' in this context was considered to include 'information provision', as an important step towards more transparent communication. Although many focused on simply surveying local opinion and attitudes, others presented concrete experiences that had changed outlooks and working relationships between stakeholders. While each experience is unique, it also has features that benefit from sharing with others rooted in the broader post-socialist context. Elsewhere, stronger civil society or long traditions of community resource management provide the models; here, each experience will contribute to an emerging understanding of a different post-socialist approach to conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008

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