New Technological Interventions in Conservation Conflicts: Countering Emotions and Contested Knowledge

Audrey Verma* (Corresponding Author), Rene Van der Wal, Anke Fischer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


New technologies have increasingly featured in environmental conservation conflicts. We examined the deployment of imaging devices such as sonar equipment and cameras to survey the Fal estuary in Cornwall, UK. Due to heavy use of these waters, there have been several disputes coalescing around protected marine features, including the estuary’s rare maerl beds. A comparison of two cases, scallop dredging and docks development, showed technical instruments being deployed to produce information about the marine environment as evidence to inform decision-making. The use of imaging devices stimulated political action and was regarded as a move away from emotion-based decision-making towards desired objectivity. Simultaneously, however, the process of deploying these devices was challenged and there was recognition that the resultant information could be used to construct the estuary as a politically charged space. Thus, rather than clarifying and resolving contentious issues, technological interventions generated new baselines for knowledge contestation and amplified ongoing battles for credibility and authority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-695
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number5
Early online date11 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

RCUK Digital Economy programme Grant number EP/G066051/1
Open access via Springer Compact Agreement


  • Knowledge contestation
  • Digital imaging
  • Technologies for nature conservation
  • Evidence production
  • Maerl
  • Fal River, Cornwall, UK


Dive into the research topics of 'New Technological Interventions in Conservation Conflicts: Countering Emotions and Contested Knowledge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this