In Britain, wild deer are a commons with a complex institutional structure. In recent decades, however, a number of social, cultural, economic, and ecological factors have fundamentally altered people's relationships with wild deer, introducing new impacts along with new interactions between deer, their environment, and an increasing variety of actors. We describe this as the "multivalence" of wild deer. Drivers of change include, among other factors, mounting interest in the conservation of woodland and other priority habitats, agricultural reform, and rising levels of traffic on British roads, all of which interact in a complex fashion with wild deer. Deer Management Groups (DMGs) have existed in Britain for many years, in a variety of forms and with diverse memberships. They are primarily a response to the mobility of deer, which causes the animals to cross jurisdictions and boundaries, thus demanding interaction between neighbors, particularly landowners and their deer managers. Drawing upon evidence gathered through case-study research, this paper investigates how established institutional arrangements in DMGs are reacting to the increasing multivalence attributed to this common pool resource.

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