Scientific priorities and shepherds' perceptions of ungulate's contributions to people in rewilding landscapes

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Nature's contributions to people (NCP) are all the contributions of living nature, both beneficial and detrimental, to the societies' life's quality. Ungulates play this dual role of providers of beneficial and detrimental NCP, as they are responsible of the supply of benefits (e.g. extractive experiences, habitat maintenance) and detriments (e.g. crops damage, traffic collisions). Our aim was to analyze the NCP provided by wild ungulates through examining the scientific priorities and the shepherds' perceptions in peninsular Spain. We reviewed scientific articles of NCP provided by ungulates in Spain and conducted questionnaires regarding NCP to shepherds in farming systems where domestic and wild ungulates cohabit. Then, we compared whether the scientific priorities match with those perceived by shepherds. Both stakeholders highlight more detrimental than beneficial NCP, although there are some mismatches between scientific priorities and shepherds' perceptions. Regarding detrimental NCP, soil alteration, silvicultural damage, human safety or traffic collision were included in scientific literature but not mentioned by shepherds. Contrarywise, shepherds mainly considered grazing competence and damage to animals (i.e. game species and livestock) as important detrimental NCP. Concerning beneficial NCP, whilst hunting was prominent in the publications, shepherds did not conceived it as an important beneficial contribution and considered the regulation of organisms (i.e. scavenging alternative prey) important benefits. These results can have twofold implications. The emphasis on detrimental NCP (studied and perceived) can reinforce the idea that ungulates can threaten humans rather than contribute to societies' wellbeing. The fact that research does not address the interests of shepherds can affect the social tolerance towards ungulates as the damages experienced or perceived by shepherds are not studied. Our results show the relevance of considering local knowledge held by shepherds and their perceptions, something highlighted by the NCP approach.

ZeitschriftScience of the Total Environment
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 25.02.2020