Measuring the intensity of conflicts in conservation



Cusack JJ, Bradfer‐Lawrence T, Baynham‐Herd Z, Castelló y Tickell S, Duporge I, Hegre H, Moreno Zárate L, Naude V, Nijhawan S, Wilson J, Zambrano Cortes DG & Bunnefeld N (2021) Measuring the intensity of conflicts in conservation. Conservation Letters, 14 (3), Art. No.: e12783.

Conflicts between the interests of biodiversity conservation and other human activities pose a major threat to natural ecosystems and human well‐being, yet few methods exist to quantify their intensity and model their dynamics. We develop a categorization of conflict intensity based on the curve of conflict, a model originally used to track the escalation and deescalation of armed conflicts. Our categorization assigns six intensity levels reflecting the discourse and actions of stakeholders involved in a given conflict, from coexistence or collaboration to physical violence. Using a range of case studies, we demonstrate the value of our approach in quantifying conflict trends, estimating transition probabilities between conflict stages, and modeling conflict intensity as a function of relevant covariates. By taking an evidence‐based approach to quantifying stakeholder behavior, the proposed framework allows for a better understanding of the drivers of conservation conflict development across a diverse range of socioecological scenarios.

armed conflict; coexistence; curve; deescalation; discourse; escalation; spatiotemporal; stakeholder groups; stasis; trend

Conservation Letters: Volume 14, Issue 3

FundersNatural Environment Research Council, Balliol College, University of Oxford, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, European Commission (Horizon 2020) and European Commission (Horizon 2020)
Publication date31/05/2021
Publication date online11/01/2021
Date accepted by journal27/11/2020

People (3)


Dr Tom Bradfer-Lawrence
Dr Tom Bradfer-Lawrence

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Professor Nils Bunnefeld
Professor Nils Bunnefeld

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Mr John Wilson
Mr John Wilson

PhD Researcher, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Projects (1)