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The problem of spatial scale when studying human dimensions of a natural resource conflict: Human and wolves in Sweden
Department of Animal Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
Department of Forest Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden.
2006 (English)In: The International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management, ISSN 1745-1590, Vol. 2, no 4, 343-349 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some surveys are performed at a spatial scale that hides the core of the problem. This is not a trivial problem if local members of the public and more distant respondents disagree over a certain issue. We contrast a Swedish national, proportional survey with corresponding regional and local surveys. We use three survey questions about wolves to illustrate the risk of extrapolation from proportional national surveys to areas where human and nature conservation issues are in conflict. As attitudes towards large carnivores generally tend to be favourable amongst the general public, but negative amongst those most likely to be adversely affected, surveys performed at a too large a spatial scale do not capture the problem or reveal disagreements between local and general public. This could lead to a conceptual mismatch between the spatial scales of, first, the natural resource problem and, second human population sampling. Our study in the mountain region of northern Sweden illustrates biases potentially introduced to controversial issues tied to local problems by using proportional national surveys. We suggest over-sampling in problem areas contrasted with proportional regional/national sampling, or proportional sampling matching the scale of problem, to identify the driving mechanisms and related variables.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2006. Vol. 2, no 4, 343-349 p.
Keyword [en]
Scale, sampling, natural resource conflict, wolves, carnivores
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-64422DOI: 10.1080/17451590609618155OAI: diva2:601183
Available from: 2013-01-28 Created: 2013-01-28 Last updated: 2013-02-07Bibliographically approved

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Sandström, CamillaBostedt, Göran
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