Accepted Paper:

Uncertainties and anguishes facing Natura 2000: how local people deal with biodiversity conservation  


Marieke Blondet (MNHN & INRA)

Paper short abstract:

In the context of the French implementation of the Natura 2000 network, the inhabitants of those protected sites may feel that the conservation of floral and faunal species has the preference over their own live and develop fear and anguishes for their future.

Paper long abstract:

Facing the common anxiety and anguish about the future of our natural environment, many governments of industrial societies are implementing various conservation programmes and protected areas. Since 1992, France as a member state of the European Union implements the Habitat Directive and Natura 2000 network. A group of sites were nominated to preserve the biological diversity of national and European significance. Yet, the human population, although it was not originally consulted, can continue its usual activities in a sustainable way.

This process of renaturalization of spaces where human activities take place raises some significant issues. With the Natura 2000 sites, local people have discovered the existence of floral and faunal species they had never suspected before and that were, until then, rather insignificant for humans. Their conservation, however, may lead to threatening some of the human activities and interests. At the same time a diffuse feeling is developing among the people of those sites: these protected species are being considered more important by the French and European authorities than the human beings living there, and who for some of them make a living from the exploitation of the natural ressources. Conservation of flora and fauna has preference over lives of the local people and their interests and issues as individuals, groups or communities.

This paper aims to describe how local populations around Natura 2000 sites may feel neglected in favour of the biological diversity; people who may develop fears and anguishes toward the network and biodiversity conservation.

Panel W089
Peur bleue, angoisses vertes : inquiétudes et incertitudes autour des objets naturels/ Blue funk, green anguishes: disquiet and uncertainty about natural objects (FR-EN)