Governing nature conservation: the European Union Habitats Directive and conflict around estuary management
Demands for increased levels of protection for species and ecosystems are being translated into new modes of spatial governance at national, regional, and local scales. As part of this, new ways of analysing and representing ecological systems are leading to qualitatively different treatment of the (time) spaces of nature conservation. In this paper we explore what happens when the land-use demands of new paradigms of nature conservation collide with preestablished modes of spatial regulation, taking as our focus the implementation of the European Union Habitats Directive in estuary spaces in the United Kingdom. We provide evidence of the ways in which ecological regulation is reshaping political – economic landscapes and offer insights into the direction of ‘postmodern’ nature conservation practice, including the extent to which theoretical notions of hybrid and nonequilibrium systems have become absorbed into conflicts around ecological regulation.
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