Protecting Nature
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Protecting Nature

Organizations and Networks in Europe and the USA

Edited by C. S.A. (Kris) van Koppen and William T. Markham

Providing a detailed description of all the major nature protection organizations and networks, including overviews of their current membership, activities, and as far as available, budgets, Protecting Nature will be of great interest to lecturers and postgraduate students in social science fields, as well as researchers in the fields of environmental policy, environmental NGOs, social movements, civil society, nature management and policy. Members of nature protection, environmental and other civil society organizations who seek a better understanding of the historical development of nature protection organizations and networks, as well as the strategies employed by those organizations, will also find much to interest them in this book.
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Chapter 6: Dutch Nature Protection between Policy and Public

C.S.A. (Kris) van Koppen


C.S.A. (Kris) van Koppen INTRODUCTION Measured by sheer number of supporters, civil society action for nature protection has developed amazing strength in the Netherlands, expanding from a small, rather elite group in the first half of the twentieth century into an extensive network of organizations with a broad support base. Although its membership decreased somewhat in the early years of the twenty-first century, the Society for the Preservation of Nature (Vereniging tot Behoud van Natuurmonumenten) still boasts a membership of nearly 900 000, more than 5 per cent of the total Dutch population, and WWF and Greenpeace have some 740 000 and 590 000 members respectively. This does not mean, however, that optimism about nature protection prevails among Dutch nature protection advocates. A recent special nature issue of a leading Dutch newspaper (Volkskrant, 9 April 2004) exemplified their mixed feelings. ‘Nature is losing’, the editorial states. Despite the successful institutionalization of nature protection policy and management in the Netherlands, the gradual deterioration of nature remains hard to halt in a country so urbanized and industrialized. Moreover, this degradation does not seem to evoke as much public protest as it did in the 1970s. Other articles in the special issue point to the gap between ecologists and policy makers, on the one hand, and the public, on the other, and suggest that public concern about nature protection is declining. Against this backdrop, this chapter explores the development of nature protection in the Netherlands from its origins at the turn...

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