Fencing the wild: Human-nature relationships in a social-ecological landscape - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2014

Fencing the wild: Human-nature relationships in a social-ecological landscape

Anders Mårell
Christophe Baltzinger


From the beginning of the “enclosure” movement in Britain - just a few hundred years ago - until our contemporary fenced landscapes, the fencing dynamics has been fast and worldwide spread. Fences have thus been recognized as one of the major fragmenting feature in rural areas. Privately owned lands are more prone to fragmentation than public areas, because private owners are not likely to self-commit in collective landscape planning if no incentives are provided; fragmentation by private fences strongly threatens both ecological connectivity and social connectivity at the landscape scale. Studying biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in privately owned landscape appears thus highly relevant. I studied how landscape connectivity, ecosystem functions and biodiversity are modified by the fencing phenomenon, and what are the ecosystem services at stake and the stakeholder groups involved in the fencing dispute in the Sologne Natural Region - 500 000 ha center of France. Private properties cover more than 90% of the area and this prevailing private ownership has led to the spread of private fences throughout the area. As regards the ecological side of the fencing issue, I focused on two different scales : (i) at the private property scale, how fences affect deer abundance, herbivory intensity and biodiversity (plant and bird diversity) via cascading effects, (ii) at the intermediate scale (deer home-range scale – 2 000 ha) how the fence design affects deer habitat selection. I also conducted stakeholder interviews in order to understand the human values involved in the fencing dispute: why do some owners erect fences and why do other stakeholders feel upset about these private forest fences? From already recorded but not yet analysed data on bird and plant diversity in fenced/unfenced properties, I will present my results on how fencing may affect forest diversity via cascading effects. I will also present my findings on how the fence design affects deer habitat selection, by enhancing the sheltering value of partially fenced forest patches. Thirdly, I will present the recorded stakeholder values associated with forest, wild animals and how they relate to the fencing debate. Eventually, I will explain how I plan to use these findings in a participatory modeling approach, aiming at describing the fencing dynamics, its effects on ecosystem services delivery and at exploring several future scenarii.


Not file

Dates and versions

hal-02600278 , version 1 (16-05-2020)



M. Baltzinger, Anders Mårell, Christophe Baltzinger. Fencing the wild: Human-nature relationships in a social-ecological landscape. Global Change Research Symposium 2014 – Human and Ecosystem Response to Global Change – Evidence and Application, Sep 2014, Ostuni, Italy. pp.36. ⟨hal-02600278⟩


16 View
0 Download


Gmail Facebook Twitter LinkedIn More