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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


There is considerable interest in improving participatory governance in decision-making processes for the conservation of biodiversity and management of conflicts between humans and wildlife. Among the various modes of participatory governance, deliberative democracy has received virtually no attention for decisions focused on conserving biodiversity. This is surprising given that deliberative democracy is an important branch of democratic theory and is associated with decision-making processes that have been successfully applied to a wide range of complicated decisions across diverse cultural settings. Moreover, deliberative democracy has several distinctive properties that would seem to make it well-suited for many conservation decisions. First, deliberative democracy is better-designed than other processes to handle cases where the object of conservation appears to be insufficiently valued by those who have the most detrimental impacts on its conservation. Second, deliberative democracy engenders a rich kind of representation and impartiality that is nearly impossible to achieve with participatory governance focused on managing conflicts among hyper-engaged stakeholders. Here, we review the principles of deliberative democracy, outline procedures for its application to carnivore conservation, and consider its likelihood to favor carnivore conservation.

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© 2021 Vucetich, Bruskotter and Macdonald. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Frontiers in Conservation Science

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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