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Coastal dune conservation on an Irish commonage: community-based management or tragedy of the commons?

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In Ireland ‘commonage’ refers to lands jointly owned by several individuals who have grazing rights. Commonage can provide the low-intensity grazing regime regarded as optimal for habitat conservation, and it is also unlikely to suffer the negative impacts of building development or coastal engineering. Today, however, the traditional control systems of coastal commonage are generally moribund, leading to habitat degradation. The only viable future management model is likely to be one based on local community control. Community management would have the legitimacy to counter the negative perceptions of external authority that generate environmental degradation.
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Keywords: Ireland; community management; conservation; degradation; dune commonage

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Coastal and Marine Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland BT52 1SA s: ; [email protected], Email: [email protected] 2: Marine Law and Ocean Policy Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, Email: [email protected] 3: Environmental Planning Division, AXYS Environmental Consulting Ltd, Suite 300, 805 – 8th AVE SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 1H7, Email: [email protected] 4: Land Economy and Environment Research Group, Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 June 2007

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