European Nature Conservation and Restoration Policy—Problems and Perspectives


  • Jozef Keulartz

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University and Research Centre, PO Box 8130, 6700 EW Wageningen, The Netherlands
      J. Keulartz, email
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J. Keulartz, email


The implementation of Natura 2000 has met with considerable resistance from farmers, fishermen, foresters, and other local residents in most European Union Member States. In response to the rural protest, the majority of governments have gradually abandoned their centralist, top-down approach and increasingly switched over to methods of participatory and interactive policy-making. However, this “democratisation” of European nature conservation policy is not without its problems and pitfalls. The inclusion of an ever-growing group of stakeholders with different and often diverging interests, ideas, views, and values will more often than not lead to conflicts over the future of nature and the landscape. The causes and consequences of these conflicts need to be examined to improve the policy process.