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CoPraNet: Network of Natura 2000 in Sweden with special attention to the Baltic Coast. Conception and particular examples

Type of Entry: Case Study
Duration: 2005 - 2005


The decisions to implement the Natura 2000 network were taken at the EU level far away from the locals’ cultural, social and economic dependence. The formalized EU position is that Natura 2000 sites were to be nominated solely on the basis of prescribed ecological criteria across all types of land tenures, including private property. That is, political, economical, cultural and social factors were not to be explicitly considered in the site nomination process, despite previous research indicating the importance of attaining the necessary support from local communities for biodiversity conservation initiatives[1].

Policy formulation and implementation determined only by biodiversity values (or available ecological data) without regard to other interests or forms of knowledge, is not likely to be well received by the affected actors who may fear adverse effects on their livelihood and loss or rights to resource flows from designated areas[2]. This has been pointed out in numerous studies of types of local natural resource management systems, such as water, forests, and wetlands[3]. In response, disparate actors are likely to construct political strategies in defence of economy, territory (including private property), culture (including recreation), and identity (often vocationally related, e.g. farmers) linked to particular places[4].

Foucault’s[5] proposition that typical discourses make it impossible to raise certain questions or argue certain cases appears to be theoretically pertinent here. It has certainly been the case in Finland that biodiversity science’s universal and normative view as rendered by Natura 2000 was confronted with other viewpoints (including local), which may have arisen from traditions, culture, political conditions and economic considerations.

The comparatively limited confrontations during the designation of Natura 2000 sites in Sweden is probably a result of a long process (almost a decade) which started with designation of sites that were already legally protected as nature reserves etc. The following designation process, which included non-protected areas, also privately owned, took its time to inform and consult relevant stakeholders, including landowners. The Gräsö case shows, however, that this procedure is not always enough to reach consensus.



[1] Based on documents and verbal information from the State County Board, County of Uppsala

[2] Donnelly, 1994, Fiske, 1991

[3] Beazley et al., 2003

[4] Ostrom, 1990, Ostrom et al., 1993, Blomqvist, 1996

[5] Escobar, 1999

[6] Foucalt, 1971
Keywords: Biodiversity, Coastal landscapes and ecosystems, Governance, Nature conservation
Network of Natura 2000 in Sweden with special attention to the Baltic Coast (801.747 Bytes)
A case study of the implementation of Natura 2000, in Sweden with focus on the Baltic coast of the County of Uppsala
Contact: Per Wramner
COMREC / Sweden
Södertörns högskola
SE-141 89 Huddinge
Telephone: +46 8 608 4150
Fax: +46 8 608 4800
E-Mail: per.wramner@sh.se
Website: www.sh.se/comrec