Editors' ChoiceConservation

Facilitating refuges

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Science  21 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6335, pp. 281
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6335.281-a

A combination of local organization and top-down enforcement facilitates successful accommodation of migrating pink-footed geese by farmers.


As the human population has grown and spread, conflict between human activities, especially agriculture, and wildlife have become increasingly damaging and unsustainable. Policies that both legally protect wildlife populations and subsidize farmers for allocating resources to wildlife can help to mitigate these conflicts. Eythórsson et al. evaluate the Norwegian portion of a plan put in place to reduce conflict between pink-footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus) and farmers along the goose's northern flyway. They found that local organization of farmers and subsidies contributed to the success of the plan, especially when reimbursements were corrected to be more directly related to damages. However, top-down input (in the form of the intercountry species management plan) was also deemed essential for ensuring that the focus remained on goose conservation, as opposed to farmer reimbursement. Their analysis demonstrates the importance of combining transparency for stakeholders and strict enforcement for species conservation in efforts to facilitate species persistence in the face of human land use.

Ambio 10.1007/s13280-016-0884-4 (2017).

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