Democratic Legitimacy and New Commons: Examples from English Protected Areas

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"This paper explores the relationship between protected areas and commons arguing that protected areas can be seen as a form of new commons because of the different objectives and beneficiaries compared to traditional commons. If the purpose of traditional commons is sustainable resource exploitation, the primary objective of these new commons is the conservation of nature/protection of biodiversity. And if on traditional commons local resource users are the key beneficiaries, in new commons the public at large and future generations are the key beneficiaries as biodiversity is the common concern of human kind. Because of new commons’ different purposes and different set of beneficiaries, normative questions need to be asked regarding who should have a say in their management and who is able to better represent the interests of nature. To answer these questions, the paper draws on deliberative democratic theory. To ground the theoretical insights empirically it presents a comparison between English protected areas at sea and on land designated under national law."



conservation, new commons, protected areas