Out of Bounds: Wildlife Conservation Across Private Landscapes

Mr Matthew Taylor1,2, Dr Aidan Davison1, Dr Andrew Harwood1

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

2Tasmanian Land Conservancy, Hobart, Australia


Global concern at the rapid decline of wildlife populations is leading to a renegotiation of the concept of private land and dissolution of the intangible boundaries that contribute to that decline. Wildlife is globally imperilled by human development, especially on private land, where people and native animals are in competition for space and resources. Wildlife is usually on the losing side of the competition: most native species struggle to persist in landscapes that have been fragmented and degraded by agriculture and urbanisation. Private land presents an especially challenging context for wildlife conservation, because of a fundamental tension between the boundaries inherent in the concept of private land and the movement of wildlife across the landscape. Private properties are managed at the discretion of the owner, whose worldview, management objectives and practices often differ from neighbours. Wildlife conservation initiatives on private land need to be coordinated across property boundaries, with the consent and support of many individual landholders. While property rights are important to landholders, they are not absolute, but rather socially constructed and dynamic. Wildlife conservation on private land therefore requires management approaches that adopt social-ecological methodologies, balancing the interests of landholders with the interests of wildlife and society.


Matt Taylor is a PhD candidate, researching the socio-ecology of wildlife conservation on private land. The project is a partnership between UTAS and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, where he’s worked as an ecologist for the past 10 years.

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