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Favourable Conservation Status for Species: Examining the Habitats Directive’s Key Concept through a Case Study of the Swedish Wolf
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Law, Department of Law.
2016 (English)In: Journal of environmental law, ISSN 0952-8873, E-ISSN 1464-374X, Vol. 28, no 2, 221-244 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One of the key issues in the current controversy over the hunting of wolves in Sweden is whether the wolf population has reached favourable conservation status (FCS). FCS is a legal concept, created and defined in law, but like many legal concepts within environmental law, can only be understood by reference to ecological concepts such as species viability. These ecological determinations in turn often require some sort of legal or policy judgment, such as how great an extinction risk is acceptable for a viable population. This article interrogates contested legal and ecological aspects of FCS and argues for how they might be applied to the Swedish wolf in potential litigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 28, no 2, 221-244 p.
Keyword [en]
Habitats Directive, Favourable Conservation Status, Wolf, Recovery, Sweden, EU Law, FCS
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-280472DOI: 10.1093/jel/eqw006ISI: 000382055500002OAI: diva2:910940
Claws and Laws
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, NV-06589-113
Available from: 2016-03-10 Created: 2016-03-10 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Big Bad EU? Species Protection and European Federalism: A Case Study of Wolf Conservation and Contestation in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Big Bad EU? Species Protection and European Federalism: A Case Study of Wolf Conservation and Contestation in Sweden
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation examines how eco-knowledge intersects with the changes to EU legal cultures and practices known as eurolegalism. This conjunction has created a mechanism for the extension of EU law in the Member States even in the face of a weakened EU.

Through a portfolio of six articles, controversies over the protection of wolves in Sweden are used to illustrate and explicate the changing roles and responsibilities of various actors in protecting species, and the centralization of competence for environmental protection in Europe at the EU level. In doing so, some substantive requirements of the Habitats Directive are also analyzed. The first article maps the movement of competence to determine conservation policy towards the EU level and away from international and Member State actors. The second article examines what the EU requires of its Member States by analyzing the Habitats Directive’s key concept, favourable conservation status. It also makes normative arguments for how contested aspects of this concept should be interpreted to best achieve the Directive’s conservation goals. The third article deepens this analysis by applying these arguments to the Swedish wolf population. The fourth article is a case commentary illustrating the enforcement of the Habitats Directive through public interest litigation to stop the hunting of Swedish wolves. The fifth argues that the greater availability of public interest standing in the US than in the EU has led to the greater implementation of federal law. The sixth argues that greater availability of public interest litigation in Sweden than previously is also leading to the greater enforcement of “federal” EU law. Each of these articles demonstrates or explains factors that lead to the hollowing out of state power in favor of the EU and interest groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Law, 2017. 63 p.
Habitats Directive, species protection, subsidiarity, Endangered Species Act
National Category
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-318698 (URN)978-91-506-2632-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-05-19, Room 4573, Gamla Torget 6, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

Cover photo by Guillaume Chapron

Available from: 2017-04-26 Created: 2017-03-28 Last updated: 2017-05-02

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(247 kB)