Despite the massive amount of research effort involving natural and social sciences that has been conducted on large carnivores and rural communities in Norway during the last 15 years the conflicts associated with the presence of these species persist, a nd in many cases have intensified. This project will avail of the data collected by the ongoing field based projects and will explicitly explore what the existing science says about the wisdom of present policies and examine how it has been used in policy development and implementation. We shall focus on a number of areas that have received particular attention in political debates - which have placed a massive emphasis on regulating carnivore numbers in relation to agricultural conflicts. Firstly, we sha ll explore the existing monitoring methods, to evaluate them against independent methods, and explore ways to improve them. Secondly, we shall investigate the relationship between large carnivore densities and losses of domestic sheep and reindeer, and ex plore how this is modulated by climate and livestock density. Thirdly, we shall model the manner in which management within a given jurisdiction is influenced by that in an adjacent jurisdiction at multiple scales from sub-national to international while considering the spatial scales at which large carnivores live. Fourthly, we shall explore the structure, function and legitimacy of large carnivore management institutions, focusing on the Norwegian situation, but against a backdrop of the diversity of Eu ropean institutional arrangements. A final step will summarise the state of the science - policy interface and identify priorities for future research. The project will be achieved by integrating established scientists that head up the empirical / field / species based projects and international partners with a team of postdocs and masters students that will conduct these cross-cutting thematic studies.
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