Towards landscapes of coexistence between
 people and megafauna

Organized by: Benjamin Bleyhl, Humboldt-University Berlin

Large-bodied animals, often referred to as megafauna, are particularly at risk in the world’s increasingly human-dominated landscapes. These species compete with people over food and space, often leading to conflicts and subsequently suppression or extirpation. The loss of megafauna from many landscapes is deeply worrisome because these species have key roles in food webs, are critical for healthy ecosystems, and contribute in various ways to human well-being. Understanding which landscapes allow for coexistence between people and large mammals, or landscapes of coexistence – and which landscapes do not – is therefore important for informing conservation planning and management. Despite a plethora of studies on the prevalence and intensity of human-wildlife conflict, possible pathways leading to landscapes of coexistence are still unclear. This symposium aims to take a social-ecological perspective on this issue. Building upon the emerging concept of human-wildlife coexistence, the symposium will explore the research frontiers in our understanding of human-megafauna coexistence, showcase novel analytical advances, and provide empirical case studies of conservation actions that fostered coexistence. The questions we will explore, through contributed talks and joint discussions, will be: Which ecological and social factors foster or inhibit coexistence and how do megafauna adapt to human-dominated landscapes? Which actors are particularly affected by specific types of conflict associated with megafauna? How do different megafauna species interact, linking the conflicts they are associated with? How does human behaviour and land use determine landscape connectivity for megafauna, and thus the potential for megafauna to adapt to human pressure and to recolonize areas from which they have been extirpated historically? Which societal changes, policy and governance options provide pathways towards landscapes of coexistence? Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this symposium aims to answer these questions with a focus on European megafauna but is open to contributions from all world regions.

Key references
Carter, N.H. & Linnell, J.D.C. (2016) Co-adaptation is key to coexisting with large carnivores. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 31(8): 575-578.

Chapron, G. & Lopez-Bao, J.V. (2016) Coexistence with large carnivores informed by community ecology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 31(8): 578-580.

Jacobson, K.S., Dickman, A.J., Macdonald, D.W., Mourato, S., Johnson, P., Sibanda, L. & Loveridge, A. (2020) The importance of tangible and intangible factors in human-carnivore coexistence. Conservation Biology 35(4): 1233-1244.

König, H.J., Kiffner, C., Kramer-Schadt, S., Fürst, C., Keuling, O. & Ford, A.T. (2020) Human-wildlife coexistence in a changing world. Conservation Biology 34(4): 786-794.

Nyhus, P.J. (2016) Human-wildlife conflict and coexistence. Annual Review of Environment & Resources 41: 143-171.
Pooley, S., Bhatia, S. & Vasava, A. (2020) Rethinking the study of human-wildlife coexistence. Conservation Biology 35(3): 784-793.


Presentations

Engaging a billion people to foster coexistence with megafauna from local to global scales and back
- Nils Bunnefeld (University of Stirling, United Kingdom)

Exploring the coexistence potential for humans and megafauna in future European landscapes
- Marco Davoli (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Anthropogenic resistance - considering human-wildlife conflict in conservation planning
- Arash Ghoddousi (Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany)

Coexisting with different human-wildlife coexistence perspectives
- Jenny A. Glikman (Instituto De Estudios Sociales Avanzados (iesa-csic), Spain)

Coping with the challenges of human-wildlife conflicts in the 21st century. Is coexistence just a dream of nature lovers?
- Hannes Koenig (ZALF, Germany)

Addressing human-tiger encounters using socio- ecological information on tolerance and risk
- Freya St John (Bangor University, United Kingdom)

Sustainable human-megafauna coexistence potential and the role of willingness to coexist
- Susanne Vogel (Open Universiteit, Netherlands)