Political decision making, governance shifts and Scottish animal reintroductions: are democratic principles at stake?

Koen Arts*, Anke Fischer, René van der Wal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary governance systems have been characterised as 'multi-actor' and 'multi-level', but the consequences of such greater complexity for core principles of democracy remain uncertain. To investigate the effects of these late-modern governance shifts, we used political decision making on Scottish reintroductions of charismatic animals as a case study. Based on interviews with key actors engaged in the reintroduction of the white-tailed eagle, beaver and (potentially) lynx, we analysed the impact of governance shifts against four selected democratic principles. We found that new modes of governance can make decision-making processes look better than they actually are, and may even harm democratic principles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-628
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number4
Early online date26 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • charismatic animals
  • decision making
  • democracy
  • governance
  • reintroduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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