Knowledge-based management of protected areas and hydropower: The case of Norway

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, published online 28.06.2019, 19 p. DOI: 10.1007/s10784-019-09447-6

How has ecological knowledge been applied in Norwegian management of hydropower and protected areas? By recognizing a diversity of environmental ‘knowledges’ and science as potentially subordinated to political and economic interests, we explain the link between ecological knowledge and management by the state and scale of knowledge, political conflict and international commitments. The analysis is guided by case-study methodology. We find that ecological knowledge has had weak impact in the management reform of protected areas and been reduced as a decision-making premise in hydropower management. Differing combinations of case-specific factors have produced these outcomes. In the case of protected areas, ecological knowledge was suppressed mainly by opposing economic interests. The hydropower case showed how competing environmental knowledge and international commitments related to renewable energy and climate change overshadowed nature management concerns. These observations highlight the importance of differentiating between types of environmental knowledge and between knowledge and interests in the study of nature management.