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This volume focuses on the issue of legitimacy in the context of European nature conservation policy. It provides insights in the way in which democratic legitimacy is being `produced' at different levels of governance. Building forth upon recent developments in democracy theory that have identified multiple forms of legitimacy, the volume observes a EU-wide shift from output legitimacy to input and throughput legitimacy. Top down policy making is increasingly meeting local resistance. As a result, the importance for policy makers of enhancing the democratic legitimacy of their policy plans has increased. The popularity of deliberative decision-making procedures can be seen as a procedural answer to this state of affairs.
For this volume we invited international scholars from within the EU to reflect upon the question whether similar developments are taking place in the context or country with which they are most familiar. Do they perceive a delegitimation of top down policy making and hence an increasing emphasis on procedural legitimacy in processes of nature conservation policy implementation? Which model of democratic decision-making is most helpful to solve the issue of legitimacy in the field of nature conservation policy? How important are national traditions and institutions? What are the tradeoffs between the different types of legitimacy?
In this volume, nine case studies are presented, seven case studies of protected areas in different countries (Belgium, Germany, Poland, Spain, Finland, France and the UK), and two case studies of protected species (the geese in the Netherlands, and the great Cormorant in Denmark and Italy). These case studies are followed by extensive comments. The volume opens with an introductory chapter on the problematic production of legitimacy in current European nature policy. It concludes with a chapter that situates the case studies within the wider EU environmental policy and political context.