Comparative study of species protection in the EU: the wolf (Canis lupus) as an illustrative case study


My research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the interactions between EU environmental law and national legal systems, and is part of the bigger research project called “Can laws save nature?”. My project looks at the question of species conservation using the illustrative case study of a species -the wolf (Canis lupus)- and an environmental duty -species protection- that is shared by EU countries, in order to develop a comparative analysis on how and why the Habitats Directive may differ in effectivity in different countries, and whether national courts rule similarly when facing a similar issue and why. The research also addresses the role that strategic litigation plays in protecting species, along with the linkage between ecology and law in order to systematize their interactions in species protection, for which it will build on and leverage a separately funded research project aimed at building a European-wide database of species protection case law. The methodology employed will uncover areas of the Environmental Law Method underused up to this day due to the lack of an opportunity to develop a structured advanced scanning method that ultimately explores deeper issues of EU law and environmental law in general, and questions that might be raised are: What makes some legal systems, or some specific circumstances, more likely to favour ambitious litigation strategies? How have different national courts assessed the scientific evidence presented? How have they interpreted key concepts of the Directive based on the wording employed in national transpositions? How do national courts balance scientific evidence, the precautionary principle and the proportionality principle in species protection rulings?


legal ecology, EU environmental law, species conservation, species protection, Habitats Directive, comparative analysis, large carnivores

Associated researchers

Yaffa Epstein (Uppsala university, Sweden), Guillaume Chapron (SLU, Sweden)


Ouro Del Olmo, Mar