The general scientific objectives of HUNT, supported by the European Commission under FP7 Biodiversity values, sustainable use and livelihoods, are to use hunting as a lens through which to examine the wider issue of how people interact with biodiversity. Biodiversity conservation increasingly takes place outside protected areas in multiple-use landscapes. Success in achieving biodiversity objectives is closely linked to the extent to which conservation can be integrated with the cultural, social and economic objectives and aspirations of people. Beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and preferences about biodiversity are central to the decisions made by individuals and groups about natural resource management.
Hunting provides a valuable case study in the use of biodiversity because it involves tens of millions of people globally, it is conducted across a wide range of land tenure and use systems, and it is an important source of revenue and protein, particularly in developing countries. Hunting is embedded in social structures and cultural patterns and has a key role in conflicts over natural resource management around the world. HUNT's multidisciplinary team will assess the social, cultural, economic and ecological functions and impacts of hunting across a range of contexts in Europe and Africa . The study systems fall across economic gradients from the richest to the poorest countries and encompass environments from the Arctic to the Equator.
HUNT seeks to understand what influences attitudes to hunting, how these attitudes influence and determine individual and societal behaviour in relation to hunting, and finally, how hunting behaviour influences biodiversity. Consequently, it will integrate social, economic and ecological scientific disciplines and engage with a diverse selection of stakeholders to develop novel approaches to the mitigation of natural resource conflicts involving hunting. Finally, the results will be interpreted in respect to current and future EU policy on hunting and biodiversity conservation and contribute to the global debate about the sustainable use of biodiversity.