Maria Gialeli, PhD Candidate and George Vasios, Post-doctoral researcher, University of the Aegean

Keywords: changing norms; diverse stakeholders; practical solutions; challenges of collaboration

During the last decades, a large increase of the European wild rabbit population in Lemnos Island (Greece) has become a significant problem, creating imbalances for the biodiversity and ecosystem of the island and inflicting damages in grain crops. The project explores solutions to a socio-environmental issues of rabbit overpopulation on the island of Lemnos.

Societal engagement is approached from a perspective of changing views of the island’s population on how they approach the overpopulation of rabbits in the territory and introducing new practices to the locals which would benefit the local economy. For instance, work with local restaurants and cooks to create new products using rabbit meat, which could be used locally and for export, instead of a previous practice of shooting the rabbits.

 The project deals with a challenging aspect of collaborative research aiming for balancing different, often conflicting views of different stakeholders involved. For instance, because rabbits damage the crops, the farmers prefer to eliminate the rabbits, while the environmental NGO’s want to protect the rabbit.  The challenge of the researchers is to find a solution that benefits all, despite the clashing interests. 

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