Pre-Conference Trainings

Pre-Conference Trainings

Pre-conference trainings will be held on Sunday, 13 October, 2024, during the day. Trainings will be located in Cordoba and will give participants time to participate in the evening events at the Pathways Conference.

We are offering two pre-conference trainings (see details below):

  • People-Centered Strategies for Human-Wildlife Conflict Management
  • Exploring Conservation Social Science Biographies and Experiences

People-Centered Strategies for Human-Wildlife Conflict Management

At the European level and worldwide, tensions between stakeholder groups over the use and protection of the natural environment and the coexistence with wildlife are unfolding in new directions due to various developments like climate change, biodiversity crisis and polarisation in society. Especially the return or population increase of large carnivores, such as wolves, bears, lynx or wolverine, in multiple European countries brings various groups into conflict of interests. The actors involved in these conflicts often lack the capacity, knowledge and skills to manage them, which may lead to high frustration on all sides and in the worst case further escalation.

Environmental facilitation and mediation for alternative dispute resolution as well as structured approaches like the C2C (conflict to coexistence) approach established by the WWF support constructive dialogue among involved parties and help dealing with environmental conflicts.  Conflict management techniques such as de-escalation methods, non-violent communciation, interest-based dialogue, professional negotiation tools and multi-stakeholder approaches have proven to be beneficial for constructive processes. While participatory co-design approaches facilitated by neutral or third-party mediators are able to increase social learning, and the  willingness to dialogue and engage across differences, it may as well add social justice benefits, such as respect for local knowledge and measures that redress the inequitable distribution of environmental impacts and policies.

In this short course, we will explore how participation and mediative work can help addressing human-wildlife conflicts and we will hear about tools and practice methods used in conflict mediation. The course is based on case studies from Europe and beyond and aims at sharing knowledge, best-practice and experience. It is well suited for those who are interested in gaining insights into environmental mediation and explore about its potential.

Led by:

Eva Maria Cattoen, Ecologist, Facilitator, and Certified Mediator

Eva Gross, HWC Management Expert and Trained Mediator

This workshop is free of cost and includes coffee breaks and a light lunch. 

Exploring Conservation Social Science Biographies and Experiences

The need for better integration of social sciences into conservation is widely recognized, yet narrowing the persistent science-practice gap remains a major challenge. Diffusion of social science in both conservation training and practice varies by geographic region. Drawing on ideas from “innovation biographies” – that investigate knowledge dynamics and exchange, including social relations, contextual settings, and cross-sectoral reach with narrative interviewing amongst other methods – we employed a modified Delphi technique targeting both seasoned and early career scientists and conservation practitioners from Europe and North America to outline “conservation social science biographies” (e.g., how individuals first get in touch with and become further interested or invested in the field). Participants were asked if they felt part of a “community of practice” and what conditions in their working environments enhanced or constrained their experiences. Additionally, we identified needs, tools, and promising intervention points for early academic training and continued professional development to advance interdisciplinary approaches to conservation and wildlife management.

The workshop will include an overview of the innovation biography approach, results from the Delphi study, and a mix of individual and interactive group exercises. Participants will actively engage with each other to share their experiences and develop their own conservation social science biographies. Workshop activities will enhance understanding of intervention points, needs, tools, and strategies for training and workforce development toward advancing a more robust community of practice in Europe (and beyond). The workshop will also inform the development of a multi-author paper on social science diffusion in conservation.

Led by:

Dr. Claudia Grunewald, Independent Researcher

Dr. Thomas Fish, U.S. Department of the Interior / National Park Service

Dr. Eick von Ruschkowski, Alfred Toepfer Akademie für Naturschutz

Pathways Europe 2024 Cohosts:

Institute for Advanced Social Studies (IESA) logo
Spanish Research Council (CSIC) logo
human dimensions of natural resources logo
University of Cordoba, Spain (UCO) logo