Finding the balance between use and conservation of nature
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- Master theses 
Within the conservation discourse, the extent to which human should have access to conserved nature is widely polarized. It is a complex discussion, shaped by the perceptions, and the values of nature. The complexity makes it challenging to shape conservation policies that best suit the context of the empirical setting. Overall, the two ends of the debate entail a complete restriction or a full integration of humans and nature. This thesis researches the different perspectives regarding humans’ role in Hardangervidda National Park (HNP). The main research question addresses the extent to which hikers should be restricted from HNP in order to preserve the wild reindeer. This thesis aims to shed light on the wild-human conflict in the conservation discourse. The wild reindeer of Hardangervidda has recently been red-listed as a ‘near threatened’ species. Hence, there is a vibrant discussion concerning how to preserve the wild reindeer. In its uttermost sense, the discussion sheds light on a clash between the Right of Public Use (Norwegian: Allemannsretten), hunting rights and the preservation of wild reindeer habitat. May HNP be a landscape open for all? Or is there a need for restriction in order to protect the wild reindeer? Data was gathered from interviews, observation, and document analysis. The data was analyzed with both thematic analysis and, subsequently, discourse analysis. The research contributes to the literature by exploring how the dilemma concerning conserving nature unfolds in the context of HNP. The research explores this using a political ecological framework. The findings show that the right way to conserve nature is subjective, shaped by the interests of users and the values of the wild reindeer. In the context of HNP, these values were primarily anthropocentric which clearly depicts the political nature of the discussion. Overall, there was a consensus among the stakeholders to improve the conditions of the wild reindeer. However, there was disagreement concerning whether the hikers, hunters/landowner, or other users should be restricted from exploiting the park. This thesis concludes that the extent to which hikers should be restricted is a subjective question, shaped by the priorities of the management policies and the interests of the user groups.