Landscape Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 691–710 | Cite as

A social-ecological approach to land-use conflict to inform regional and conservation planning and management

  • Azadeh Karimi
  • Marc Hockings
Research Article



Conflict over land use is endemic to natural resource management given the limited availability of resources and multiple stakeholders’ interests, but there has been limited research to examine conflict from an integrative social-ecological perspective.


We sought to determine how the potential for land use conflict—a social construct—was related (or not) to ecological systems of landscapes.


Using participatory mapping data from a regional case study in Australia, we identified the potential for land use conflict using a model that combines spatially-explicit place values with preferences for specific land uses related to development and conservation. Multiple proxies of biodiversity were used to evaluate the landscape’s ecological systems at ecosystems and species levels. Range maps were used to identify areas of high species diversity value using the conservation planning software Zonation.


We spatially intersected conflict areas with landscape attributes and found the potential for conflict over conservation to be higher in coastal areas than inland areas, more likely to be located in areas with moderate vegetation cover, more concentrated in ecosystems classified as ‘No Concern’ with moderate to high native vegetation. Potential conflict over conservation was disproportionately higher in areas with higher species diversity derived from conservation modelling.


The social-ecological associations in conflict analysis can inform impact assessment of land use plans on biodiversity, assist development of effective approaches to reconcile conservation and other land uses, support conservation planning by identifying priorities for conflict negotiation and understanding underlying factors for conflict.


Land use conflict Conservation conflict Social data Ecological evaluation Conservation planning Spatial prioritization 

Supplementary material

10980_2018_636_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 30 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental SciencesFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran

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