Accounting the Commons: science advises conservation policy


The conservation of nature poses problems of social cognition as wel as of collective management. Disagreement on how nature reserves or fisheries should be managed go hand in hand with disagreements over the state of nature. Fishermen, governments, fishery Ministers, marine biologists, and environmental organizations produce different accounts of the state of nature.


How do nature conservation agencies establish the state of nature? How do they integrate knowledge from heterogeneous and potentially contradictory sources? Do they manage to produce an account of the Commons that is accepted by the main actors involved as authoritative? If so, how?


In this paper, I will contrast different approaches to the organization of knowledge assessment in nature conservation and fisheries.


Willem Halffman

(Amsterdam School of Social Science Research)