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Governing Wildlife Commons? A Comparative Analysis of Switzerland's Three Hunting Systems

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Nahrath, Stéphane
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2045
Sector: Wildlife
General & Multiple Resources
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
hunters and gatherers
institutional analysis
Abstract: "The paper I propose to submit for the conference departs from an ongoing research (cf. bibliography) dealing with a comparative analysis of the three different and contrasted hunting regimes which have historically emerged in Switzerland: 1) a state monopoly regime in the canton of Geneva: hunting is forbidden and state gamekeepers are responsible for the management of the fauna and for the implementation of population control measures; 2) a license- based regime in 16 cantons of central and western Switzerland: the state administration monitors the resource as well as the progress of hunting and fixes animal quotas for hunters; 3) a leasing -based regime in 9 cantons of the eastern part of the country: the state leases, for a period of 8 years, the different hunting territories to local associations of hunters and delegates them the responsibility of monitoring and managing the fauna on their territory. The cantonal administrations, however, fix the quotas of the animals to be shot at the regional level. We can therefore speak here of a partly self-organized regime. "The research starts from the conviction that such a territorial proximity of such contrasted regimes constitutes without a doubt a highly relevant opportunity to develop a comparative strategy within a continuum going from a pure Leviathan solution to a partly self-organized solution. "In this context, the paper aims to address the following questions: -what are the strengths and the weaknesses of the three different regimes with regard to the sustainable management of the resource? -what can we learn from the case of wildlife and fauna resource management concerning the contemporary challenges which common pool resources encounter in the western highly developed countries? -what are both the potentialities and obstacles, on the way to a self-organized management of the resource in such a case? "In order to answer these questions, the paper will present the results of three complementary inquiries/ investigations: -a brief historical screening of the development of the three different hunting regimes in Switzerland -a statistical analysis of the outcomes (on the resource) of these three different regimes during the last 30 years (1968-1998) -a contemporary analysis, based on actors interviews and an ethnographical inquiry, of the three regimes internal organization and functioning; such an analysis allowing to focus more particularly on the contemporary challenges resulting from the increasing interlinkages between the management of fauna and of various other resources (forest, flora, biodiversity) "Finally, the two central objectives of the paper will consist on one hand, in pointing out the characteristics of the resource as well as the requirements of its management that render, in the Swiss context, the way to a voluntary self-organized cooperation--i.e. without state intervention--very unlikely. The biological nature of the resource, its mobility, the absence of a real economical dependence of the main users (hunters) towards the resource, the scientific and political discovery of an ecosystemic interdependence interlinking natural resources, the increasing heterogeneity of the demands addressed to the resource by an increasing number of different social groups involved in its 'consumption,' are all factors claiming for state intervention. On the other hand, the paper will also examine, focusing on the lessons learned from the i leasing regime , the conditions and the potentialities of a cooperation between state administration and local self-organization, while investigating the question 'how much autonomy should a common property regime have ?'"

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