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A biosocial approach for analyzing environmental conflicts. A case study of horseshoe crab allocation

Abstract
Ambiguous legislation, insufficient science, jurisdictional disputes, and conflicting values of stakeholders have contributed to the increasing frequency of natural resource conflicts. The allocation of horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay and Cape Cod Bay can serve as a model system for understanding resource conflicts, because relationships among biophysical and human systems in this example typify many environmental controversies. Herein, we use an interaction web to build a conceptual framework for identifying potential conflicts. Specifically, we identify four subconflicts involving horseshoe crabs, human shellfishers, commercial fishers, the biomedical industry, birdwatchers, and environmental interest groups. Stakeholders hold different attitudes concerning the horseshoe crab and thus advocate competing policy preferences in the political process. An important step in understanding environmental conflicts is to clarify differences in social meanings, attitudes, and values. The integrated approach described here, by depicting and graphically displaying biosocial relationships, can provide a generalized approach for understanding a broad range of environmental conflicts.
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2005-01-01
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