Governing knowledge: Understanding the interplay between knowledge and coastal governance

Franke van der Molen

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    1008 Downloads (Pure)


    Joint knowledge creation and intensive deliberation are crucial for well-informed nature management. The management of the Wadden Sea area involves many parties, including governments, companies, and nature conservation organizations. Conflicting interests and insights often spur controversies about the permissibility of for instance fisheries and gas mining. Knowledge plays an important role in such cases. Decision making about nature conservation requires scientific knowledge. However, the role of knowledge is equivocal and even contested. Fishers, sailors, and companies often draw upon other knowledge than nature conservationists do. Uncertainties and conflicting interpretations hamper good connections between knowledge creation and nature management.

    This PhD thesis focuses on collaborative processes in which policy makers and societal organizations try to solve conflicts about the utilization and conservation of nature in coastal areas. The research aims to provide insight into the interplay between knowledge and nature management. Furthermore, it provides recommendations on how knowledge can contribute to the sustainable use and management of natural resources. The research includes studies on the mussel fishery, coastal protection, and recreational boating in the Wadden Sea area.

    The research shows that a combination of strategies can help to deal with conflicts between conservationists and users of natural resources. Examples include engaging in intensive deliberations, working according to a set of negotiated rules, and performing collaborative research and monitoring. Furthermore, the research provides insight into different ways in which knowledge can contribute to participatory forms of nature management. This may facilitate bridging conflicting perspectives and productively dealing with uncertainty and natural dynamics.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Gerkema, Menno, Supervisor
    • Swart, Jacobus, Co-supervisor
    • van der Windt, Henny, Co-supervisor
    Award date13-Jan-2017
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-9225-7
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-9223-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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