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The management of the wild boar population must be made more efficient

Published: 22 March 2021

Wild boar is an animal that evokes emotions. Different actors have widely differing views on how the popiulation should be handled. A new project in political science analyzes how different interests can be coordinated in order to best manage a natural resource that knows no administrative boundaries.

The explosive growth of the Swedish wild boar population in recent decades has had both negative and positive effects on humans. Wild boars invade farmers' farms, residential plots and golf courses, they spread diseases and cause traffic accidents. At the same time, hunters have got a new hunting animal. The meat is a good and climate-smart alternative and wild boar contributes to biodiversity.

The many advantages and disadvantages of the wild boar from a human perspective mean that the animal is the subject of many conflicting interests that sometimes converge within one and the same person, for example the farmer who is also a hunter.

Coordinate interests

The ongoing project aims to better coordinate the interests of different actors around the wild boar population in order to achieve an optimal result for the common good. A particular challenge for coordination compared to many other natural resources is that wild boars are mobile.

– A forest stands where it stands. Wild boar move across administrative boundaries, says Charlotta Söderberg, senior lecturer in political science at Luleå University of Technology and project manager for "Att förvalta en rörlig resurs: möjligheter till, och hinder för, kollektivt handlande i svensk vildsvinsförvaltning" ("Managing a mobile resource: opportunities for, and obstacles to, collective action in Swedish wild boar management").

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency recently decided on a new management plan with the aim of strengthening the coordination of the various interests affected by the wild boar population. In a sub-study in the project, the researchers will make an institutional analysis of the new plan and its conditions for strengthening coordination.

Map the network

In another part of the project, both the formal and informal structures that regulate the management of the wild boar population will be analyzed. This will be done through interviews with various actors, including civil servants, landowners and interest groups. Furthermore, the network around wild boar management will be mapped. Which actors have contact with each other, how often and in what ways do they collaborate? The entire project will result in an analysis of what opportunities and obstacles exist for more effective coordination and how these obstacles can be overcome.

– The goal is to be able to give the players concrete advice for effective wild boar management. But the hope is also that we will be able to make a theoretical contribution at a more comprehensive level that can be generalized to other areas of efficient and legitimate management of mobile natural resources, says Charlotta Söderberg.

In addition to Charlotta Söderberg, Moa Dahlberg, doctoral student, and Simon Matti, professor, both in political science participate in the project. The project has received funding from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency of approximately SEK 2 million over a period of two years.