Nature conservation in the UK has relied heavily on science to justify the selection and management of protected areas. Despite apparent movement towards sustainability rhetoric, and a downplaying of scientific expertise, scientific guidelines continue to drive protected area designation. This paper reports on interview-based research in northern Scotland with stakeholders around designated nature conservation sites, and records views on the roles of scientific and local knowledge. This demonstrates the way in which scientific knowledge acts to reduce opportunities for debate, and ways in which local knowledge is used as a form of resistance. It is concluded that the focus on science can exacerbate conflict between conservation organisations and landowners, and that efforts to work with broader definitions of value, which generate popular appeal, must be developed. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- protected areas
- local knowledge