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 (2)


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)