Towards Convivial Conservation: Governing Human-Wildlife Interactions in the Anthropocene

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Sheffield Inst for International Dev


CON-VIVA is grounded in the premise that conservation is critical to transformations to sustainability but that its practices need to change radically. Conservation can be effective in protecting biodiversity in places, but in toto has failed to halt global biodiversity loss. Continued habitat fragmentation and reduced funding during times of austerity compound this problem. Many conservationists now acknowledge this, leading to vigorous 'Anthropocene' discussions on how to reconfigure human-wildlife relations, protected areas and the role of economic development in conservation. CON-VIVA's key objective is to conceptually refine and empirically test the prospects for one proposal emerging from these debates: convivial conservation. This new model responds to the T2S themes by moving beyond protected areas and faith in markets to build landscape, governance and funding pathways that integrate conservation and poverty reduction, while enhancing prosperity. CON-VIVA investigates the prospects for convivial conservation by comparing cutting-edge conservation cases that address human-wildlife conflict involving apex predators in Finland, USA and DAC-countries Brazil and Tanzania. Our hypothesis is that if 'living with' apex predators can be effectively combined with new forms of economic development, a transition to convivial conservation can be boosted significantly. By organising the project around integrated academic-practitioner networks on local and global levels, we will better understand the conditions for this transition, while conceptualising and popularising a new model for conservation. This allows CON-VIVA to contribute to SDG15 and to inspire and enhance broader transformations to sustainability.


Planned Impact

Our approach to impact depends on iteratively engaging and building a community of stakeholders and interested groups through a series of activities and communication devices. In particular communication and dissemination are at the heart of CON-VIVA: together with collaborative conceptualisation of the convivial conservation approach, these are the keys to building and maintaining networks that will carry the work forward. Therefore, we will inform and enlist as many relevant actors as possible to create a critical mass of engaged users. Various outputs fit with this strategy:
1. Peer-reviewed journal articles. This will establish the scientific credibility of the concept and the research done through the CON-VIVA project. It undergirds all other outputs;
2. Popular, policy-oriented and online publications. These include: an interactive website, social media (Facebook page, Twitter account) and attractive online content, including by members of the emerging CON-VIVA community, and white papers for open access dissemination;
3. Public presentations by all project partners at scientific conferences and relevant policy forums throughout the project and beyond. This will culminate in a series of presentation and workshop sessions at the IUCN's 2020 World Conservation Congress (WCC) in order to introduce the convivial conservation proposal to diverse global conservation audiences.
4. Audio-visual media. We will develop various forms of audio-visual media published on our website and elsewhere (e.g. Youtube). These will include short videos and podcasts and a longer film segment summarizing the project's main findings for presentation during the 2020 WCC.

The main target groups for our communication products can be identified on the multiple levels defined earlier. On the local level, we first focus on the relevant stakeholder groups in the four case study countries previously identified. On the national level, in these same four countries we will seek to influence relevant state and NGO representatives. Globally, we focus on major conservation policymakers, institutions and networks. Our cooperation with IUCN and WWF will help to achieve this.

The knowledge generated will be utilized to refine and improve local partners' strategies to mitigate and solve human-predator conflicts along the three CON-VIVA pathways in our different case study contexts. Global actors can utilize our knowledge in two main ways: 1) to reflect both on why more radical proposals are currently emanating from within conservation and why these are unlikely to lead to effective conservation; 2) to explore how different elements of these radical proposals can, instead, be integrated into a new paradigm (convivial conservation) capable of moving towards concrete transformations to sustainability.


10 25 50