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FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri

Grazing resources, carnivores and local communities

Alternative title: Beiteressurs, rovdyr og lokalsamfunn - LOKAL ROVDYR

Awarded: NOK 2.2 mill.

The primary objective is to generate evidence based knowledge on the dual pressures of increasing predation and the need for sustainable growth and development in rural Norway, focusing on grazing based industries and areas experiencing high losses to carnivores. Based on national statistics on loss to wolves, it is determined that the loss of domestic animals to large carnivores is declining within carnivore prioritized areas. Reduced period of grazing on outfield pastures and fencing have positive effects on the loss figures, but signify the beginning of the end for outfield grazing in these areas. The decrease in loss figures is mainly due to upheaval of grazing. A significant proportion of the loss of domestic animals due to large carnivores is now taking place within grazing-prioritized areas adjacent to the carnivore management areas. Funds for conversion of production are limited. Small farms are most vulnerable with more limited alternative productions. Increase in infield grazing increases need for antibiotics. There is a need to look into the more principal aspects also with regard to possible compensation for lost possibilities for exercising grazing rights in the outfields. Furthermore, if sheep grazing is closed down, the predation om indigenous Sami reindeer herding which is protected by the ILO-convention, will increase. Using a mixed-method approach, we have examined the potential regional impact of the presence of wolves on farmers' psychological distress in Norway. Data from the nationally representative Trends in Norwegian Agriculture Survey was analysed using a multiple regression analysis. Psychological distress was measured using a 5 item Hopkins Symptom Checklist. Comparison with register data of livestock losses showed that sheep farmers living in regions where sheep have been killed by wolves within the last 5 years have higher psychological distress scores than (a) sheep farmers elsewhere in Norway, and (b) farmers in the same region without sheep. What makes our study different from others is that the Trends survey was not targeted at the wolf issue directly, meaning that accusations of farmer bias against wolves when responding to surveys cannot explain the results. Stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and reduced quality of life were reported as key consequences of carnivore pressure. An analysis of participation and knowledge production has been conducted in Norway and Sweden. Some main findings are: Reindeer herding in Nordland has very high losses to carnivores, but the statistics have shortcomings and causes are not well investigated. The role of eagle is uncertain. Access to grazing and reindeer husbandry's adaptability to carnivore pressure must be seen in the context of the overall effects of different types of land use and interventions as well as climate change. There is weak local and regional co-determination in the carnivore management. A proposal for larger carnivore management regions in Norway may weaken this further. Local and experience based knowledge is not integrated into decision making processes, thus Aichi goals are not met. Carnivore management based on zoning principles does not appear to be an appropriate tool linked to reindeer herding. The French network partner in the project has reviewed the experiences of the last two decades with wolves in France. Despite widespread use of interventions such as guarding dogs, shepherds, night fencing, losses to wolves are increasing. International and Norwegian experience correspond with regard to the limited scientific evidence of the effects of the various measures and interventions, and over time. The analysis of mitigation measures, compensation schemes and national - international large carnivore management (Europe) shows: A group of international conventions (CBD, Bern) is given priority over others (ILO). There is a poor correlation between political goals and the instruments used. There is limited consistency between levels and sectors (local - regional - national, agricultural - environmental sector). The need for a system perspective is acknowledged, but political organization and instruments that reflect this are missing. Twofold goals of policies often lead to one goal being favored over the other. Most instruments focus on limiting economic damage. Zoning (geographically differentiated management) and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) focuses on both goals, but both have some problematic dimensions. Better incentives for conversion of production, and better follow-up of carnivore management as stated in the Parliamentary carnivore agreement, and improved sharing of knowledge, both experience based and scientific, are some of the recommendations.

For å nå målene i rovdyrforliket er det behov for en bred kunnskapsbase. Prosjektet er antakelig det første som tar en så bred helhetlig inngang, også metodisk, til å studere konsekvenser, tilpasningsstrategier og -muligheter i tilknytning til beitenæringer og rovdyr. Prosjektet analyserer sammenhenger og dimensjoner som ikke har vært belyst tidligere, og gir dermed et bedre beslutningsgrunnlag. Utøvere i beitenæringene og andre opplever at prosjektet innebærer økt anerkjennelse av at deres utfordringer er reelle. En slik anerkjennelse kan i seg selv ha konfliktdempende virkning. Funnene er tatt i bruk og bragt inn i diskusjoner og møter mellom myndigheter, politikere, forvaltning og næringsorganisasjoner. Forskerne i prosjektet er invitert inn i nye samarbeid der deltema fra prosjektet vil videreføres. Flere vitenskapelige artikler er publisert, og under publisering, og fyller et kunnskapshull internasjonalt som nasjonalt.

Increasing and improved utilization of national resources for food production to improve food security, food safety and to meet population growth and consumers demand for domestic quality food are stated as Norwegian policy objectives. Grazing in Norwegian outfields has a potential for considerably increased production. The two-fold objectives of the Carnivore agreement promote Norways responsibility for sustainable carnivore stocks and sustaining active and viable grazing communities. The conservation success of protected carnivores raises dilemmas and challenges across many European countries. The project will provide an analysis of geographical differentiation and spatial effects of the zoning policies based on a number of available databases. Two case studies ? Southern and Northern Norway ? of areas with challenges concerning carnivores and animal husbandry will be carried out. The relationship between predation pressure in agriculture, carnivore pressure in general and the economic and social wellbeing of the wider rural community, and intergenerational farm transfer (farm succession will be analysed. Further the correlation/interaction between sheep farming and reindeer herding in Nordland (Northern Norway) and carnivore pressures. Investigating how adaptive measures and policies, including livestock compensation schemes influence different livelihood activities of farmer and reindeer herders and how they view alternatives to current compensation schemes. Cumulative effects, adaptive capacity, institutional aspects and the potential for change are key issues. The project will facilitate knowledge exchange and development of cutting-edge expertise across disciplines and professions, in a national, Nordic and European context. The research design ensures efficient transfer of knowledge between international science and rural organisation representatives, and with Norwegian industrial partners, organisations and officials.

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Funding scheme:

FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri