Research Topic

Understanding Coexistence with Wildlife

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About this Research Topic

As humans and wildlife come into increasing contact under the pressures of climate change, species recovery and zoonoses, it is urgent that we learn to facilitate coexistence with wildlife in shared multi-use landscapes, for the well-being of both wildlife and people. While coexistence is often mentioned, it ...

As humans and wildlife come into increasing contact under the pressures of climate change, species recovery and zoonoses, it is urgent that we learn to facilitate coexistence with wildlife in shared multi-use landscapes, for the well-being of both wildlife and people. While coexistence is often mentioned, it is too seldom defined, and rarely studied. This is partly because conservation scientists are less familiar and less comfortable with the kinds of questions and methodologies required to study human-wildlife interactions and human-human conflicts over wildlife. It is also easier to study things you can count (impacts) than coexistence, which often involves not doing things (e.g. refraining from retaliation).

That said, human-wildlife conflict research increasingly draws on approaches from (mostly) the social sciences in order to do so. The focus remains firmly on negative impacts of wildlife on humans and vice versa, and on conflicts, however. Much research focuses on risks and benefits of coexisting with (mostly larger, more charismatic) wild animals, and attempts to analyse and influence rational decision-making. There is very little consideration of emotional aspects of traumatic encounters. This is despite research showing that it is indirect impacts that have most influence on attitudes to wildlife, and increasing recognition that history and culture are important factors shaping peoples' responses to wildlife.

In this topic, we're interested in papers that think more broadly about what coexistence is and how to study it, and what we can learn about coexistence from those places where it is being actively cultivated and researched. The focus is on reasons for and approaches to coexistence which are not directly related to the material costs or benefits of living with particular wild animals. It is not oriented only to scenarios involving charismatic species, but includes all species of wildlife which significantly impact on peoples' lives outside of protected areas. This includes consideration of human-wildlife interactions in shared/mixed-use landscapes and urban areas, rather than only iconic conservation landscapes.

Papers could address, for example:

- Key concepts relating to and definitions of the concept of coexistence
- Methodologies for studying coexistence and their applications
- Case studies of coexistence
- Ways of valuing nature which will foster coexistence (and/or hamper it)
- How to think about wild animals in coexistence studies
- How can we factor different ways of coexisting with wildlife into decision-making processes?

Please Note:
• Abstracts are not compulsory and failing to submit an abstract will not prevent a full manuscript submission. However, they enable the Guest Editors to perform a preliminary assessment and are therefore highly encouraged.
• Guest Editors will evaluate each abstract and provide feedback to the authors, including recommendation to transfer to a different Research Topic or journal section based on the relevance of the content.
• While submissions of abstracts are encouraged before the deadline, abstracts will be considered for evaluation also after it (the submission link will remain active).
• Abstracts have a maximum word count of 1000.
• Authors can find the full list of article types accepted for this collection here.


Keywords: coexistence, wildlife, well-being, conflict


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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