TRANSBOUNDARY CONSERVATION OF LARGE CARNIVORES: THE EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE
Arie Trouwborst
Tilburg University, European and International Public Law Department

 

Abstract
Conserving, restoring and managing brown bears (Ursus arctos), wolves (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynx lynx and Lynx pardinus) and wolverines (Gulo gulo) in Europe is an extremely controversial and highly politicized affair, with a prominent role reserved for legal approaches and international cooperation. Following centuries of human-induced decline, and disappearance from many areas and entire countries, these top predators have been staging a remarkable comeback in recent decades. Most populations of these species are now stable or increasing, and progressively reoccupying former ranges. This “carnivore comeback” is attributed to a combination of factors, including legal protection, land use changes, and targeted conservation actions such as reintroductions. Although this is encouraging from a biodiversity conservation perspective, the coexistence of top predators with humans on the crowded European continent remains highly controversial, due to livestock depredation, human safety concerns, competition with hunters, and other forms of human-carnivore conflict. Particularly fierce conflicts tend to erupt when wolves, bears or lynx return to areas from which they have long been absent. Another challenge arises from the fragmented jurisdictional landscape in Europe, with most large carnivore populations extending over several countries, creating a need for transboundary approaches. Two international legal regimes are of particular significance in respect of both challenges, namely the 1979 Bern Convention on European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, and the 1992 EU Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora. This address provides a bird’s-eye view of these and other issues, and of the current thinking regarding the challenges involved in the conservation and management of large carnivores in Europe.

 

Presentation Topic

TRANSBOUNDARY CONSERVATION OF LARGE CARNIVORES: THE EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE

{youtube}{/youtube}
Contact  Mr Trouwborst:
Email Arie Trouwborst