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Community empowerment for managing wild boar: a longitudinal case study of northern Italy 2001–2018

Stefano Giacomelli, USI UniversitÓ della Svizzera italiana
Michael Gibbert, USI UniversitÓ della Svizzera italiana, Institute of Marketing and Communication Management
Roberto Vigan˛, Studio Associato AlpVet


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We studied the issue of wild boar (Sus scrofa) management over 17 years (2001–2018) in Piedmont, one of Italy’s northern regions. The community empowerment (CE) approach discussed here involved two main interventions. First, a regulation that was issued to forbid the hunting of overabundant species counterintuitively eliminated the interest of hunters in artificially increasing wild boar population growth via illegal releases. Second, increasing amounts of responsibility for controlling the wild boar population were delegated from government institutions to the local community, where volunteers (including nonhunters) were provided depredation permits outside the regular hunting season. Via in-depth interviews and observations to gather qualitative data, we trace the lessons learned during implementation of the CE approach. In particular, we illustrate how structured decision making was consequential in bringing forth higher order learning via iterations in three districts with different local regulations regarding wild boar hunting (hunting was permitted in only two of the districts). We find lower boar populations and lower economic damage from boar in the district without hunting, suggesting that a regulation allowing hunting (especially hunting with the help of hounds) actually increases the overall population via incentivizing illegal releases. In the two districts permitting hunting, the successive delegation of responsibility to the local community proved most effective in legally reducing illegally released wild boar. We discuss implications for effective management of overabundant species.

Key words

human dimensions of wildlife; hounds; illegal behaviors; law enforcement; overabundant resources; regulations and policies; wild boar

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087