Research & Development Project: “Lead Poisoning in White-tailed Sea Eagles: Communication of Scientific Results as a Fundament for the Societal Opinion Making”

The project is conducted by a research association between the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) and Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) of 'Freie Universität Berlin' (FFU).

The FFU is concerned with the analysis of the information level in the hunting circles dialogue on the one hand and the identification of possible lines of conflict blocking a solution of the lead problem on the other hand. Also FFU is actively imparting research results to the different stakeholders. The most important counterparts are hunters, foresters, ammunition manufacturers, forest owners and environmentalists nature conservationists as well as the interested public.


Basis is a conflict analysis processing known publications, documents, statements and interviews with the involved stakeholders, to draw up a balance sheet between pros and cons about an adjustment to lead-free ammunition. Thus the German situation is contextualized with foreign experiences about lead poisoning in white-tailed sea eagles as well as other birds of prey.
One part of the conflict analysis will be a discourse analysis comprehending the opinion-forming process of the interest groups together with the changes of evaluation and solution of the problem. As far as possible the public dialogue (broadcasting, television, print media, events) about lead poisoning in sea eagles, respectively birds of prey, will be observed.
The project members of FFU and IZW shall than debate the conclusions for the communication of the Research & Development Project. That especially involves the structuring of three technical discussions with representatives of social organizations and governmental institutions as well as the transfer of knowledge in the form of hand out flyers or brochures.

While the conflict analysis includes all relevant parties, a second task involves the hunters more intensively.
Different circles of hunters in the states Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein and Bayern (there appears a similar problem in relation to the golden eagle) are interviewed with the aid of written surveys to determine the information level and the sources about lead poisoning. The hunters are asked about their attitude about the reduction of lead exposure, too.
This information level analysis is closely linked with the research focus about the information structure among hunters. The perspective belonging more correctly to political science on the meso level shall be complemented by the capture of the information level or the usage of information on the micro level resp. .

In the context of the mentioned information analysis there is the question about the acceptance of the most important approaches to solve the lead issue. The acceptance analysis reaches from "active antagonism" to "agreement" or "dedication" in an eight-level differentiation.

After all the results are also interesting for the general question how aspects of environment could affect the acting of stakeholders in a policy area, in this present case relevant to political science instead of an environmental educational view, p. Particularly as the academic debate about the 'Environmental Policy Integration' according to the EU-Cardiff-Process has concentrated just on the political system of single states.

It is intended to develop an exemplary strategy of conflict solving within a conversational research. In case of success the participants find an agreement which makes legal regulations unnecessary.

On March 26, 2007 a first technical discussion took place. Participants were representatives of hunters, of forest owner associations, of ammunition industry, environmental and bird protection associations, as well as governmental authorities and the academic teams of FFU and IZW. The results are available for download: Documentation of the 1st technical discussion (german)

On May 5, 2008 a second technical discussion was conducted by the project team of FFU. Participants were representatives of different social and governmental organizations dealing with the topic "Lead Poisoning in Birds of Prey - New Knowledge and Options for Action". The results are available for download: Documentation of the 2nd technical discussion (german)

In the first half year a paper-and-pencil interview has been conducted in different circles of hunters. First with the aid of the hunting associations in Niedersachsen, Berlin and Bayern and second with inserts in technical magazines resp. in newsletters. The intention of this nationwide survey was to determine the level of information and the use of media among hunters, to be able to review, convey and spread the research results in a better and especially more target-oriented way. Beside one part about the level of awareness, knowledge and acceptance for lead-free ammunition, a second part dealt with solutions to reduce lead poisoning and experiences with lead-free ammunition. At the same time a platform was established to give the hunters an opportunity to express their opinion - and they did. The response amounted to 1.663 sheets and is completed. Soon the results will be available online, too.



Dipl.-Verw.Wiss. Roland Zieschank
Dr. Petra Schuck-Wersig

Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
Freie Universität Berlin
Environmental Policy Research Centre
Department of Political and Social Sciences
Ihnestraße 22
14195 Berlin
Phone: ++49 (0)30 838 52253
Fax: ++49 (0)30 838 56685

The main research interests of FFU are:

1. A analysis of possible lines of conflict in context relating to a switch to lead-free hunting ammunition.

2. Studies of the information level of the hunting circles and the acceptance of lead-free ammuntion in several German States.

3. Conduct of consensus-oriented special events including representatives of hunters, foresters, ammunition manufacturers and purchasers, of forest owners and nature protection organization.

4. Communication of scientific results as a fundament for the societal opinion making.