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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global recession and mass unemployment. Through reductions in trade and international tourism, the pandemic has particularly affected rural economies of tropical low- and middle-income countries where biodiversity is concentrated. As this adversity is exacerbating poverty in these regions, it is important to examine the relationship between poverty and wildlife crime in order to better anticipate and respond to the impact of the pandemic on biodiversity. To that end, we explore the relationship between poverty and wildlife crime, and its relevance in the context of a global pandemic. We examine literature from conservation, criminology, criminal justice, and social psychology to piece together how the various dimensions of poverty relate directly and indirectly to general criminal offending and the challenges this poses to conservation. We provide a theoretical framework and a road map for understanding how poverty alleviation relates to reduced wildlife crime through improved economic, human, socio-cultural, political, and protective capabilities. We also discuss the implications of this research for policy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. We conclude that multidimensional poverty and wildlife crime are intricately linked, and that initiatives to enhance each of the five dimensions can reduce the poverty-related risks of wildlife crime.
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Volume 19 Number 4 2021
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Volume 19 Number 4 2021
Conservation and Society 19(4): 294-306, 2021
The relationship between poverty and environmental
degradation has received a lot of attention in recent years
from researchers and conservation practitioners alike
(Duffy and St John 2013; Twinamatsiko et al. 2014;
Duy et al. 2016; Lunstrum and Givá 2020). Integrating
economic, social, and environmental development and
poverty-sensitive approaches to biodiversity conservation
have become priorities under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development (United Nations 2015). Many studies have
focused on the various impacts that protected areas and
conservation eorts have on local livelihoods (Cooper 2020).
However, understanding how poverty alleviation may impact
conservation is similarly important as the majority of people
who live in poverty are concentrated in rural areas of the
tropics and subtropics with rich natural resources (Fisher
and Christopher 2007; Redford et al. 2008). The COVID-19
pandemic presents new challenges to poverty reduction in these
areas, but the implications of this for biodiversity and wildlife
crime have not been explored.
Often considered from a strictly economic perspective,
poverty encompasses all aspects of human well-being
(OECD 2001; Bourguignon and Chakravarty 2019).
Impoverished households often lack food security, and
access to basic education, healthcare, clean water, and
energy (Sen 2000, 2001). The Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD 2001) denes poverty
as having ve core inter-linking dimensions which include
Poverty, Pandemics, and Wildlife Crime
Michelle Anagnostoua,#, William D. Moretob, Charlie J. Gardnerc, Brent Dobersteina
aGeography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Canada
bDepartment of Criminal Justice, University of Central Florida, USA
cDurrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, UK
#Corresponding author. Email:
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global recession and mass unemployment. Through reductions in trade and
international tourism, the pandemic has particularly aected rural economies of tropical low- and middle-income
countries where biodiversity is concentrated. As this adversity is exacerbating poverty in these regions, it is important
to examine the relationship between poverty and wildlife crime in order to better anticipate and respond to the
impact of the pandemic on biodiversity. To that end, we explore the relationship between poverty and wildlife
crime, and its relevance in the context of a global pandemic. We examine literature from conservation, criminology,
criminal justice, and social psychology to piece together how the various dimensions of poverty relate directly and
indirectly to general criminal oending and the challenges this poses to conservation. We provide a theoretical
framework and a road map for understanding how poverty alleviation relates to reduced wildlife crime through
improved economic, human, socio-cultural, political, and protective capabilities. We also discuss the implications
of this research for policy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. We conclude that multidimensional poverty
and wildlife crime are intricately linked, and that initiatives to enhance each of the ve dimensions can reduce the
poverty-related risks of wildlife crime.
Keywords: conservation, COVID-19, environmental crime, criminology, poaching, rural development
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Poverty and wildlife crime / 295
the lack of economic, human, socio-cultural, political, and/
or protective capabilities. Ineective and inequitable natural
resource revenue sharing, vulnerability to climate change,
and the lack of basic capabilities results in people being
forced to spend most of their time working in low-level jobs
and/or gathering resources (Bradshaw 2007; Barbier 2010;
Bauer et al. 2016). The world’s most impoverished rural
people are often forced into resource exploitation, which can
degrade the very natural resources that their survival depends
on (Barbier and Hochard 2018) and lower their ability to
access capacity-building opportunities to break out of the
poverty trap. Hence, studies on the relationship between
poverty and conservation have referred to a ‘downward
spiral’ of poverty and ecosystem degradation (Scherr 2000;
Barbier and Hochard 2018). The downward spiral concept
encompasses the idea that people living in poverty place
increasing pressure on their local environment, creating a
feedback loop which increases human populations, further
limits access to natural resources, and limits the capacity
for sustainable resource management (Scherr 2000). The
resulting environmental degradation leads, in turn, to
declining wages, consumption, human health, and food
security (Cleaver and Schreiber 1994; Animashaun 2019).
This ultimately leaves people living in poverty entrapped
in a vicious cycle (Kassa et al. 2018a; Barbier and Hochard
2018; Animashaun 2019).
The poverty-conservation nexus is an important consideration
in the context of COVID-19, which threatens rural livelihoods,
especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
For the rst time in two decades of global poverty reduction,
poverty rates will increase (World Bank 2021a). As the global
economy continues to fall into a recession, unemployment rates
will increase, wage rates will decrease, and a large number of
remaining jobs will be part-time, low quality, and have little
or no security. Widespread border closings, and restrictions on
travel and public gatherings, have also led global tourism to
a near halt (Gössling et al. 2020). Even informal employment
and earnings are threatened by decline of urban markets for
rural goods and services, social distancing rules, and a lack of
childcare options—a threat which is most impactful on women-
owned businesses (Fox and Signé 2020). The pandemic will
continue to cause severe disruptions to essential well-being
services, education, and healthcare systems (World Bank
2021a). Based solely on a unidimensional denition of income
poverty, the World Bank (2021a) is estimating that between
119 and 124 million people either fell below or were prevented
from escaping the extreme poverty line in 2020 as a result of
Generally speaking, poverty in all of its dimensions leaves
people marginalised and under pressure to engage in innovative
forms of deviance and criminality (Goode 2016), including
environmental and wildlife crime. Here, we consider wildlife
crime to be any act committed contrary to national laws and
regulations intended to protect fauna and ora (CITES 2012).
Many people living in LMICs lack easy access to legitimate,
stable market opportunities, and therefore may engage in the
production side of wildlife crime as an economic survival
strategy. This also includes people in locations with ineective
or corrupt institutional support for mainstream business
(Venkatesh 2006; Gilman et al. 2011). Similarly, poverty can
directly impact the rates of illegal use of natural resources.
Continuous engagement in environmental crime can provide
economic support to individuals and communities as a source
of regular income, a safety net, or even as capital reserves and
assets to start a more legitimate business (Duy and St John
2013; Gilman et al. 2011).
To date, limited evidence exists on the consequences
of poverty alleviation on wildlife crime. We provide a
theoretical framework to illustrate how being deprived of
basic ‘capabilities’ interferes with conservation objectives
and strengthens the illegal system under which wildlife
crime operates. We rst outline deciencies in ve distinct
capabilities that contribute to, and sustain, impoverished
circumstances, which in turn can result in engagement in
wildlife crime. It is important to note that our emphasis here
focuses on the supply stage of wildlife crime as it relates to
illicit trade, wildlife crimes for personal use (i.e., subsistence,
cultural and traditional practices, religious practices, etc.), and
on illegal killings due to negative human-wildlife interactions
(HWI). Furthermore, we situate this discussion within the
context of the COVID-19 pandemic and outline a road map on
how conservation and development eorts can better address
these capabilities.
Economic capabilities
A common aspect of virtually all denitions of poverty is
the lack of opportunities to earn an adequate income, and to
have assets. This links with a large body of literature that has
identied a relationship between increasing crime levels and
poor labour-market conditions, indicated by decreasing wage
rates or increasing unemployment rates (e.g., Fadaei-Tehrani
1989; Raphael and Winter-Ebmer 2001; Machin and Meghir
2004; Tang 2011). Poor economic and labour-market factors
are also believed to be a key driver of illicit hunting and
resource extraction (e.g., Nurse 2015; Harrison et al. 2015;
Hauenstein et al. 2019; Figure 1). Natural resources such as
timber or bushmeat are extracted illegally and sold locally to
make money to meet individuals’ basic needs (Brashares et
al. 2004; Kassa et al. 2018b). This was observed following
the 2008 nancial crisis, when increased unemployment rates
led many people to turn to illegal hunting and destructive
agricultural practices (Sayer et al. 2012). Illegal charcoal
production can also be used to generate income for households
suering from declining agricultural yields (Gardner et al.
The inability to secure steady or sucient nancial resources
can lead individuals to turn to illicit activity to generate income,
to stabilise household consumption, or as an outlet for poverty-
related psychological stress (Chaln and Raphael 2011). Indeed,
296 / Anagnostou et al.
economic strain has long been recognised as an important
correlate of criminal behaviour with prior scholars highlighting
the role of structural inequality, and the disconnect between
cultural goals and the means to achieve said goals. In his seminal
article, Merton (1938) outlined how cultural goals, including
those centered on economic activity and success, are inuenced
by the availability of legitimate institutionalised means (e.g.,
employment). In short, individual psychological strain develops
when people are unable to achieve culturally-dened goals
(e.g., home ownership). The interaction between culture goals,
the (un)availability of institutional means, and strain leads to
ve distinct adaptations: conformity, innovation, ritualism,
retreatism, and, perhaps most relevant for wildlife crime,
rebellion. Innovation is also relevant to our discussion here since
individuals within this group subscribe to culturally-dened
goals, but use illegitimate means (e.g., wildlife crime) to attain
them (Merton 1938). Agnew’s (1992) general strain theory
can also be applied to explain the link between economic
and labour-market factors, and wildlife crime. Agnew (1992)
proposed that people experience strain when a positively
viewed component of their lives (e.g., steady employment) is
removed or when a negative element is added (e.g., pandemic).
This is particularly relevant given the impact of COVID-19
on conservation revenue, employment opportunities, and
associated reduced availability of protection services to mediate
negative HWI (see Section ’Political capabilities’).
The ability to achieve cultural goals have also been shaped by
powerful processes of exploitation, discrimination, exclusion,
Figure 1
A simplied theoretical framework outlining the various pathways linking poverty alleviation and reduced wildlife crime
Poverty and wildlife crime / 297
and oppression that have led to immense inequalities within
and between countries. Many LMIC and high-income countries
alike are recovering from historical legacies that have dened
social classes, including structural divides based on race,
ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, and caste systems.
As such, overall gains in global poverty reduction have not
always corresponded to a reduction in inter- and intra-country
inequalities. This is important as economic inequality may be
the main driver of illegal hunting in some contexts (Lunstrum
and Givá 2020). Furthermore, recent research has found that
many proposed COVID-19 recovery polices, programmes,
and initiatives do not take an equity approach, and therefore
will exacerbate existing inequities (Mawani et al. 2021). As
will be discussed, post-COVID-19 economic interventions
should prioritize equity and social justice, and should be well-
targeted so that support for economic capabilities reaches the
most aected.
Human capabilities
Human capabilities include access to food, healthcare,
education, clean water, and shelter (OECD 2001), and there
are clear and direct links to how related deprivations lead to
illegal resource use (Figure 1). For instance, sh and bushmeat
are frequently harvested illegally to directly meet subsistence
needs as a source of protein (Brashares et al. 2004; Knapp
2012; Knapp et al. 2017). Protected areas are frequently
exploited for building materials, rewood for cooking, and
medicinal plants (Chamberlain et al. 2004; Harrison et al.
2015). Other resources are collected to make goods when they
are preferred, more accessible, or cheaper than manufactured
alternatives (Twinamatsiko et al. 2014; Harrison et al. 2015).
Illegal resource use is often not a livelihood of choice, but
can provide a “safety net” or “gap-ller” function for people
when their preferred sources of income fall through (Sunderlin
et al. 2005), and where wider society does not have eective
safety nets. Examples of safety net functions include gap-lling
employment and sources of food in the agricultural o-season,
savings for old age, and emergency income following shocks
and tragedies (Sunderlin et al. 2005; Gardner et al. 2015).
These human capabilities also interact among themselves.
For example, a lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and
healthcare facilities means children are more likely to miss
school due to illnesses. Conversely, education increases labour-
market prospects and therefore increases the opportunity cost
of crime and reduces post-school criminal activity (Lochner
and Moretti 2004). Parental education is also correlated
with nutritional status of children (Iftikhar et al. 2017), and
household welfare (Orbeta 2005). The relationship between
poverty, vulnerability and family size is strong and long-lasting
(Orbeta 2005). Households with a large number of dependents,
tend to be most directly reliant on natural resources to meet
basic needs, and to have a greater likelihood of engaging in
illegal forest activities (e.g., Atuo et al. 2020).
Immediate eorts to improve human capabilities as part of
COVID-19 recovery can include conditional or unconditional
cash transfers to help stabilise livelihoods for people who
have struggled to retain employment (Mawani et al. 2021).
In-kind transfers may also include distribution of food, school
feeding programmes, vouchers, and other basic items such as
soaps (Mawani et al. 2021). While state-sponsored provision
of food or medicine may be the most appropriate response in
some cases, such as following disaster events, in the long-
term this approach is disempowering and does little to build
capacity, or relieve food insecurity (Booth and Pollard 2020).
Poverty alleviation requires improving the social structures in
place (Booth and Pollard 2020). An example of this may be
expanding workplace development programmes, and providing
skill development training to create avenues for low-income
people to transition to secure employment (Mawani et al.
2021), so that they can enhance their human capabilities in a
sustainable manner.
Socio-cultural capabilities
Socio-cultural capabilities refer to one’s ability to participate as
a valued member of a community (OECD 2001). Criminological
ndings have determined a myriad of poverty-related social
factors associated with participation in crime and theories of
criminal behaviour (Sharkey et al. 2017). Though a structural
problem, at the individual level, poverty can relate to impaired
decision-making and self-regulation of youth (Spears 2011;
Sheehy-Skengton and Rea 2017); physical and psychosocial
stress (Evans and Kim 2012); reduced social attachment to
everyday activities and intrinsic career motivation (Hirschi
1969; Matsueda and Heimer 1987; Sampson 1987; Sheehy-
Skengton and Rea 2017); lack of commitment to a future
based on conventional behaviour (Hale et al. 2013); as well as
lack of connection to school and children’s social networks and
peer-group inuences (Haynie 2001; Haynie et al. 2006). These
factors are also often interconnected to parental mental health
problems, parental criminality, a history of abuse, and lack of
academic achievement (e.g., Farrington et al. 2001; Murray
et al. 2012; Wang et al. 2014; Taşkıran et al. 2017; Sharkey et
al. 2017). Since variations of these pathways can contribute
to an association between poverty and criminal behaviour,
investing in modest mental health and social initiatives is
thought to benet society through reduced oending (Knapp
et al. 2011; Peay 2011). The role of social norms and peer
inuences has been evidenced in the context of conservation,
where non-compliance with wildlife regulations is greater for
people with family members or friends who approve of the
oence (Atuo et al. 2020; Figure 1).
The ability to achieve socio-cultural capabilities is often
defined by legacies of historical injustices and enduring
structural issues. Poverty reduction eorts to mitigate the
impacts of COVID-19 should take an equity approach by
focusing on high-risk groups. Depending on the context, this
may include informal workers; women; racialised groups;
youth; older workers; low-educated and less-educated people;
people with disabilities; refugees and internally displaced
people; ethnic minorities; Indigenous people; and precarious
298 / Anagnostou et al.
workers (Mawani et al. 2021). Legal and policy frameworks
can promote community-based approaches to facilitating social
cohesion. Engaging local leaders in these eorts may be a
productive approach, as their inuence can overturn social
norms in their communities for upstream change.
The ability to participate as a valued member of a community
also relates to desistance pathways away from ‘criminal
careers’ after oences have been committed. These paths
are inhibited by social stigmas associated with the ‘oender’
label attached to ex-oenders (Bain 2019). These stigmas
inhibit reintegration and can cause a cycle or feedback loop
that perpetuates further oending and criminal behaviour
(Lemert 1951). This highlights the importance of preventative
measures, destigmatising past oences, and breaking the
system of crime through poverty alleviation, rather than
inflicting harsh sanctions on poverty-stricken offenders.
Desistance from a ‘criminal career only becomes attainable
through tackling social exclusion and equipping past oenders
with relevant skills required by local employers, and life skills
more generally (“soft skills”; Bain 2019). Providing positive
transition points (see Warr 1998) can disrupt an individual’s
offending trajectory and encourage desistance. It further
facilitates feelings of belonging and achievement, and reduced
pressure to return to criminality (Bain 2019). In the absence,
the oender is left feeling isolated and further marginalised
(Nugent and Schinkel 2016), which can strengthen the
propensity for criminal behaviour (Bain 2019). Additionally,
the lack of connectedness with conventional norms could
result in the association with deviant individuals (Sutherland
and Cressey 1970) and perpetuation of deviant sub-cultures
(Miller 1958).
Political capabilities
Poverty alleviation includes politically-based human rights
components, such as having a voice in policy creation and
establishing political priorities (OECD 2001; Figure 1).
Illegal hunting is thought to be driven in some cases by
prestige, identity and custom (MacDonald 2004), as an
expression of hegemonic masculinity (Sollund 2020), or as a
politicised practice of civil disobedience or resistance when
there is a lack of democratic safeguards for traditional hunting
lifestyles against prevailing environmentalist ideologies
(Nurse 2015; von Essen and Allen 2017). Wildlife crime as
a form of civil disobedience can arise when relevant citizens
are excluded from the democratic process, or biases and
predetermined agendas set by powerful interests override
local concerns (von Essen and Allen 2017; Fernández-
Llamazares et al. 2020). These political motivations for
wildlife crime may be especially pronounced where there is
a historical legacy of colonialism that has left communities
without legal rights to harvest their own local resources
(Duy and St John 2013). This means that an equitable
COVID-19 recovery will require inclusion of marginalised
voices in the design of conservation and social protection
policies to improve political capabilities.
Protective capabilities
Protective capabilities refer to people’s capacity to endure
times of economic, social, or environmental stresses (OECD
2001). Protective capabilities enable people to withstand
natural disasters, threats to person and property, and nancial
crises, such as through the provisioning of insurance (OECD
2001). Climate change can increase the frequency and severity
of stressors, which decreases protective capabilities and can,
for example, force herders to graze livestock inside protected
areas, or participate in illegal hunting (White 2018). A
growing body of literature shows that crime can be a function
of climatic factors and weather shocks which decrease
protective capabilities (Agnew 2012; White 2018). For
instance, both drought and excessive rainfall cause an increase
in thefts, cattle raiding, and property crimes in agriculture
dependent communities in Southeast Asia (Papaioannou 2017;
Papaioannou and de Haas 2017). Farmers that have lost their
protective capabilities may also turn to charcoal production,
shifting cultivation, or destructive shing practices (Gardner
et al. 2015; Cripps and Gardner 2016).
In addition, environmental shocks can increase risks of local
and regional conicts (Hendrix and Salehyan 2012). Shocks
and conicts further decrease protective capabilities and add
strain to people living in poverty, increasing their likelihood
of committing wildlife oences (Mbiba et al. 2019). Similarly,
shocks can force vulnerable populations to migrate, become
displaced, or to become ‘trapped’, depending on their mobility
potential (Black et al. 2013). In either of these three cases,
people may lose their social capital, and consequently become
more dependent on extracting natural resources (Mbiba et al.
Negative HWI and the spread of diseases can also rapidly
diminish protective capabilities and household productivity,
making households more reliant on exploiting local natural
resources for survival and providing for children (Harrison
et al. 2015; Figure 1). Negative interactions including crop
raiding, livestock depredation, and harm to people can provoke
retaliatory killings and illegal hunting (Moreto 2019). The mere
presence of wildlife in communities that have experienced
negative HWI in the past can contribute to individual- and
community-levels of strain (Agnew 1992) and decrease
protective capabilities, which, in turn, can result in pre-emptive
illegal retaliatory killings (Moreto 2019).
Wildlife crime prevention strategies could proactively
identify and address drivers of risks and exposure to stressors.
Targeted interventions to buffer shocks could focus on
protecting high-risk communities in hotspots for adverse HWI,
and in climate sensitive sectors. No single social protection
programme will completely alleviate the burden of shocks
related to COVID-19 and compounding stresses (such as
climactic stresses) that signicantly aect vulnerable people.
Rather, a carefully devised set of policies and programmes can
reinforce each other and “weave a safety net” that can alleviate
shocks to households (Grosh et al. 2014). For example,
interventions may include a combination of cash transfers,
Poverty and wildlife crime / 299
social pensions, food programmes, emergency benets, and/
or public works programmes (Grosh et al. 2014), along with
supports to prevent and compensate for damages from HWI.
This requires careful planning to provide comprehensive
coverage for enhancing protective capabilities, and addressing
chronic poverty and inequality (Grosh et al. 2014).
Complexities in the relationship between poverty and
On the other side of the poverty and conservation relationship
are rising income levels leading to increased consumption,
consumerism, waste, and pollution (Reardon and Vosti 1995;
Farias and Farias 2010). Indeed, the growth of auence
and the emergence of new consumers is a driver of global
environmental destruction (Wiedmann et al. 2020). There is a
known positive relationship between wealth and consumption
for personal gains (Myers and Kent 2004), occupying larger
land areas (Scherr 2000), and purchasing forest and high-value
wildlife products to signify status (e.g., Drury 2011; Scales
et al. 2017).
Furthermore, some development approaches, such as clear-
cutting of forests for cattle grazing, contribute to economic
growth since the associated infrastructure provides important
access to markets and services, and creates new jobs (Minten
1999; Wilkie et al. 2000). However, this growth is not always
distributed equally, can impose added stresses on marginalised
people (Zepharovich et al. 2020), and can intensify gender
inequality (UNDP 2020). It also comes at the expense of
biodiversity by fragmenting habitats and paving the way for
new landscape conversions and resource exploitation.
In light of this, it is important to keep in mind that the
global distribution of wealth has led to highly disproportionate
levels of consumption. The wealthiest 1% of income earners
account for 100 times more carbon emissions each year than
the poorest 50%, due to unsustainable and unjust patterns of
consumption, production, and investment (UNDP 2020). Per
capita use of resources is far higher in high-income countries
than it is near tropical/sub-tropical biodiversity hotspots. It
is this consumption that is boosting demand for soy, beef/
leather, timber, and palm oil, and promoting the continued
conversion of tropical forests (Walker et al. 2013). So, while
increased income levels may lead to increased consumption
and deforestation, the activities of people alleviated from
poverty still only account for a tiny proportion of resource use
at an international scale.
Overall, the relationship between poverty alleviation and
conservation is complex (Barbier and Hochard 2018; UNDP
2020). Whether poverty alleviation contributes to biodiversity
loss depends on the choices made in policy and planning when
people have higher capabilities (Roe et al. 2011). Research
ndings indicate that poverty may favour behaviours that
make it more dicult to escape poverty and to invest in long-
term improvements (Haushofer and Fehr 2014). Alleviating
people from poverty does not necessarily mean they will
become unsustainable consumptive users of natural resources.
Rather, poverty alleviation should be seen as the process of
empowering individuals by expanding their capabilities and
freedoms (including political freedoms), economic facilities,
social opportunities, transparency guarantees, and protective
security (Sen 2000, 2001). With reduced poverty comes
reduced hunger, mortality, and increased global health, access
to basic social services, and participation in public and political
life. Therefore, people are more empowered to make decisions
that align with long-term sustainability (Barbier 2000), rather
than focusing on immediate benets to ensure day-to-day
Poverty alleviation is also an important consideration
when it comes to crime deterrence, which typically relies on
a blend of ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’. Although criminal sanctions
(sticks) have been shown to successfully deter wildlife
crimes (Aimer and Goeschl 2010), research suggests that
individuals are more responsive to incentives (carrots) that
are the most immediate, which is especially true for people
living in poverty (Chaln and McCrary 2017). Improving
policing, either through increased personnel or monitoring
and policing productivity, and improving local labour-market
conditions have an immediate eect on the relative benets
and costs of engaging in criminal activities. On the other hand,
changes to incarceration policies (e.g., increasing sentences)
may be a smaller deterrent because these policy changes are
often unknown to potential oenders, and the cost of a prison
sentence is perceived to be something that may be avoided or
only experienced in the future (Chaln and McCrary 2017).
Poverty and wildlife crime in the shadow of COVID-19
Assessing the intersection of poverty and crime has a
considerable history within criminological literature. For
example, prior research has examined citizen perceptions of
safety and vulnerability, and their relationship with poverty
(Pantazis 2000), while a meta-analysis examining research
during the 1970s and the 1980s found strong support linking
poverty and income inequality with violent crime (Hsieh
and Pugh 1993). To date, however, the impact of poverty on
crime during and after a pandemic is not well-known, and
the current pandemic provides a unique (albeit unfortunate)
opportunity to probe these links (Stickle and Felson 2020).
There have been reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has led
to certain decreased organised crime activities as a result of
macro-economic swings, increased law enforcement presence
in public areas, and increased trade and travel restrictions at
borders (GIATOC 2020a). This may be part of the reason
that Kruger National Park has seen a decline in illegal rhino
hunting (BBC 2021), in addition to the provision of social
grants provided by the government. It is also believed that
potential offenders may be suspending activities due to
personal concerns about contracting COVID-19, although
further research on this is needed (GIATOC 2020a). That said,
there is evidence to suggest that trackers are simply biding
their time and stockpiling wildlife products, such as ivory and
pangolin scales (WJC 2020).
300 / Anagnostou et al.
COVID-19 will likely aect wildlife crime by negatively
impacting each of the ve capability dimensions of poverty
(Figure 2). For instance, marginalised children and youth
living in remote villages are at a severe disadvantage due to
widespread school closures (Parsitau and Jepkemei 2020)
and a downturn in nature-based and rural tourism. Education
that is mediated through technology and smartphones will
be out of reach to many rural children and their parents due
to the cost of internet, limited connectivity, and barriers to
technology purchase (Parsitau and Jepkemei 2020). School
closures also present an obstacle to providing children with
adequate nutrition for learners who depend on school feeding
programmes (UNESCO 2020).
These COVID-19 changes can force marginalised people
into illicit extraction of natural resources for nutrition,
and as a result of being less occupied with work or school
(Anagnostou et al. 2020). Parents who are still able to work
may have to leave their children and youth unattended
and socially isolated (UNESCO 2020). This leaves young
people more prone to risky behaviours and substance abuse,
and causes children to miss out on social attachments that
are essential for learning, development, cognitive control
(UNESCO 2020), and for preventing associated criminal
behaviour. The deprivation of education, food, healthcare,
and social networks can all indirectly decrease children’s
capabilities, which may then increase incentives to engage in
wildlife crime. COVID-19 has likely had (and will continue
to have) a direct impact on the routine activities of individuals
(and potential oenders) resulting in the convergence in time
and space between oenders and target resources, and the lack
of capable and invested resource guardians (Cohen and Felson
1979; Moreto and Pires 2018).
COVID-19 will also likely have more direct impacts on
wildlife crime. Demand and distribution channels for many
preferred local products (e.g., legal meat and other food
products) and services will dwindle or become blocked or
eliminated entirely. As economic returns from legitimate
employment deteriorate or disappear altogether, crime rates
will likely increase. Research has found this same trend in
previous times of economic hardship (e.g., Hale 1998; Hale
et al. 2013). The pandemic crisis has also caused internal
mass migrations as many people who have lost their jobs
in urban areas are returning to family villages in rural areas
(World Bank 2020b). This increases the interface for negative
HWI and opportunistic wildlife harvesting, and consequently
this migration may contribute to a rise in wildlife crime.
Surveillance and policing capacity of protected areas are in
dramatic decline as law enforcement eorts are being redirected
to support pandemic responses (Wittig 2020). Decreased law
enforcement and park management resources has previously
led to decreased wildlife populations due to illegal hunting
(Leader-Williams et al. 1990; Hilborn et al. 2006). An
added challenge for communities near protected areas is that
international tourism has declined dramatically, and many
countries have closed their parks and reserves to minimise
spread of the pathogen. This is important as eco-tourism
revenue is often the main source of funding for conservation,
community livelihood initiatives, and anti-poaching patrols.
Furthermore, conservation funding, including from public
spending, may become more limited as a result of society
realigning its spending priorities (Kavousi et al. 2020). Thus,
the impact of COVID-19 on law enforcement and management
in protected areas may be three-fold: 1) decreased formal forms
of guardianship due to reduced patrol activities; 2) decreased
revenue and associated community-based initiatives, including
services to reduce negative HWI; and 3) decreased informal
guardianship from tourists. This reduced law enforcement
presence in protected areas, the potential increase in negative
HWI, and lack of informal guardianship may decrease the
opportunity costs of illegally harvesting natural resources
(Kurland et al. 2017; Moreto and Pires 2018). At the same time,
people involved in tracking wildlife products are marketing
their products in consumer states as cures to COVID-19,
which will further drive illegal hunting (EIA 2020a, 2020b;
Save the Rhino 2020). Likely as a result of a combination
of these factors, authorities around the world have reported
increases in illegal hunting since the start of the pandemic.
This includes, for instance, in South America (e.g., Colombia;
Georgiou 2020), in Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., Zambia, Malawi,
Zimbabwe; Box 1; GIATOC 2020b), and in South Asia (e.g.,
India, Nepal and Pakistan; Godbole 2020).
Importantly, the economic impact of COVID-19 is not
restricted to local communities or potential oenders. Rangers
themselves are often from marginalised communities, have low
Figure 2
Pentagon framework of the capabilities/dimensions of poverty that relate
to wildlife crime oending
Poverty and wildlife crime / 301
salaries, are underpaid, paid late, have no insurance, and lack the
necessary equipment to perform their jobs (Moreto 2016; Belecky
et al. 2019; Spira et al. 2019). A reduction in tourism revenue
may negatively aect the well-being and job security of rangers
tasked with anti-poaching eorts. This could result in deleterious
impact on rangers’ salary, facilities, and other related occupational
provisions. Furthermore, COVID-19 may have a considerable
impact on the health and nances of rangers and their families
as well. This in itself could result in increased job stress (Moreto
2016), which may also contribute to establishing an environment
for ranger corruption (Moreto et al. 2015). Corruption, however,
is not limited to micro-level interactions. Political capabilities of
communities in illegal wildlife source, transit, and destination
states may be at risk from decreased governance as public
ocials become more susceptible to corruption and bribery (van
Uhm and Moreto 2018; Wittig 2020).
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, wildlife crimes were
often under-detected or undetected due to a variety of reasons,
including, lack of surveillance in remote areas; crimes falling
between the responsibilities of dierent authorities, such as
criminal justice and environmental authorities; and cases
being dismissed due to a lack of evidence (Ceccato and
Uittenbogaard 2013). Despite a myriad of interventions to stop
wildlife crime, there is a general lack of outcome evaluations to
determine which initiatives are, in fact, successful (Kurland et
al. 2017). Furthermore, such interventions may be largely based
on available resources, that are likely to have been disrupted
due to COVID-19. As such, it would be apt for policymakers
to identify and address structural and social determinants of
wildlife crime. We suggest that there is a critical need for
more accurate framing of wildlife crime oenders in terms
of systemic causes of poverty and inequalities. Here, we
have collated evidence that improving people’s well-being
through poverty alleviation is essential for preventing wildlife
crime. Government and wildlife authority responses should
involve cooperation, inclusive multilateralism, and innovative
partnerships so that citizens see a culture of integrity and
transparency, which paves the way towards collective ecacy
and responsibility for wildlife crime control (Ventura 2020;
Anagnostou et al. 2020).
Policymakers have persisted for decades with policies
that are failing to adequately address wildlife crime, and
we argue that it is time to bring in a poverty alleviation
approach that builds rural community capabilities to reduce
the likelihood of residents engaging in wildlife crime.
Under our poverty-wildlife crime framework, enhancing
the capacity of communities to achieve well-being has the
potential to achieve this. Furthermore, governments that
take an aggressively prohibitionist approach (while poverty
conditions remain the same) can contribute to a feedback
loop that inadvertently exacerbates poverty for people
whose livelihoods are directly dependent on local natural
resources. These approaches may also simply remove the
weakest actors, and present an opportunity for more clever
and adaptable groups and individuals to ourish in wildlife
crime networks (Gilman et al. 2011). Regulated use should
be considered until these communities have achieved at least
enough well-being to have the capacity to democratically
Box 1
Example of how COVID-19 is aecting illegal wildlife use in Sub-Saharan African countries+
Several Sub-Saharan African countries, including Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, among others, have reported a spike in low-level bushmeat
hunting (e.g., Figure 3) since the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded. Bushmeat hunting is thought to be driven by a number of capabilities-related
factors linked to the pandemic:
1. With borders closed and even local movement restricted in some areas, rural people have been prevented from selling their seasonal crops
(e.g., tobacco and cotton), creating nancial pressures that have driven some to turn to harvesting bushmeat.+
2. As unemployment has spread in urban areas, family remittances to rural areas have dried up, driving some rural families to illegally hunt
wildlife to mitigate food insecurity.+
3. Rural communities that were previously dependent on nature-based tourism for employment and community development have seen tourism
dollars evaporate, creating broad nancial pressures on rural communities.+
4. Parks and protected area authorities across Africa are challenged to pay the salaries of their rangers and wardens, resulting in layos, non-
payment of salaries, corruption and post abandonment. The resulting ‘oversight vacuum’ has led to increased illegal hunting inside protected
areas, and some parks are reporting thefts of critical parks infrastructure such as solar panels designed to pump water for park wildlife.+
Although these negative impacts have been documented in certain countries, more empirical research is needed to understand how COVID-19 is
impacting illegal wildlife harvest and trade.
Figure 3
African palm civet sold as bushmeat in the Republic of the Congo*
+Source: GIATOC 2020b
*Photo source: Jean-Baptiste Dodane ©
302 / Anagnostou et al.
adopt a sustainable, alternate source of income, with training
to manage it. This is especially true as studies have shown that
harvesting natural resources illegally is often only selected
when external shocks are particularly severe, and where other
safety-net functions remain unavailable or underdeveloped
(Wunder et al. 2014).
In applying our model to this context, poverty alleviation
should be seen as an overall positive strategy for global
sustainability and the decline of wildlife crime. That
said, development policies must still account for possibly
irreplaceable losses of biodiversity and ecosystem integrity.
Governments and transnational corporations should continue
to invest critical technologies, expertise, and funds into
LMICs, and specically high-risk populations, to improve the
capacity to employ the highest environmental standards. This
is particularly vital for Africa, where over half the population
is suffering from multidimensional poverty, and poverty
reduction has been slow (Alkire et al. 2016).
The rst step could be developing context-specic evidence
through socio-economic assessments, perception surveys,
community input, and establishing baselines (ILO 2020).
This information can then be used to develop integrated
approaches for socio-economic recovery such as designing
and supporting the implementation of health, water,
sanitation, hygiene, and public employment programmes
(ILO 2020). Additional actions can include initiating social
insurance for workers in the informal sector; social assistance
such as conditional cash transfers; a growth strategy that
protects the agriculture sector; and wage subsidies, among
others (Mawani et al. 2021).
While these are all important services for promoting equitable
access to livelihoods, these programmes are often out of reach
for people living in extreme and chronic poverty conditions.
Holistic ‘graduation approaches’ are examples of how to
address this challenge, and the associated overrepresentation of
women in poverty (Sulaiman et al. 2016; BRAC 2017). Closing
the gender poverty gap not only promotes gender equity, but
also improves access to education, health, and nutrition for
the next generation, and increases broader economic security
(Christensen 2019). Graduation initiatives involve supporting
women and other high-risk groups to meet basic needs by
rst provisioning food or cash to stabilise households (BRAC
2017). Participants are then provided with a productive asset
for a decent livelihood, such as livestock, a sewing machine,
a food cart, or access to formal employment. Support sta
then frequently visit for technical training on how to manage
the asset and savings, and coaching to reinforce skills, build
condence, and support social inclusion in the long-term.
Health education and access to health care are also integral
steps (BRAC 2017).
As discussed earlier in this essay, poorly planned economic
growth strategies can have detrimental costs to biodiversity,
and can exacerbate inequalities. While many are calling for a
Green Recovery to COVID-19 (OECD 2020), it is imperative
that the most vulnerable people are able to benet from new
opportunities through targeted training, skill development,
and access to markets. Conservation organisations, civil
society, international development organisations, and the
private sector should collaborate to deliver multidimensional
supports for sustainable livelihoods. Multidimensional
initiatives that also use an equity approach will help high-
risk communities build resilience in the aftermath of the
pandemic, and in doing so, reduce the poverty-related risks
of wildlife crime.
It is clear that both poverty and poverty alleviation can impact
conservation to varying degrees depending on the context. Not
all environmental degradation in LMICs is linked to poverty.
However, evidence suggests that conservationists need to
recognise that deciencies in any of the ve main capabilities
can counter biodiversity protection. We have outlined various
risk factors for wildlife crime including increased levels of
acute shocks such as unemployment, decreased wage rates,
poor access to education and healthy social networks, decreased
community participation and political capabilities, emotional
distress, and a lack of access to essential services such as
healthcare, all of which may be worsened by COVID-19 and
future pandemics (McMahon et al. 2013; Chen et al. 2016).
While it is no easy task, poverty reduction should be considered
from all of these dimensions to deliver win-win situations for
both development and conservation purposes (Chaigneau et
al. 2019).
COVID-19 has highlighted the vital need for improvements
in how conservation eorts are executed in LMICs. The
challenge going forward will be to nd new ways to ensure
that people living in poverty have a stronger voice in how
capability enhancement and conservation strategies are created
and implemented. In this way, people alleviated from poverty
will be more likely to exercise their freedoms and continue to
align their decisions with conservation objectives (Sanderson
and Redford 2003; Roe 2015). This essay suggests that the
interactions between poverty alleviation and wildlife crime are
extensive, and that improving the lives of communities living
with and near wildlife is crucial for reduced criminal oending,
and ensuring human and ecosystem wellbeing.
Author Contributions Statement
Michelle Anagnostou conceived and designed the research, and
led the drafting of the manuscript; William D. Moreto, Charlie
J. Gardner, and Brent Doberstein all contributed critical,
intellectual content to the drafts and gave nal approval of the
version to be published.
Declaration of Competing Interests
The authors declare that they have no known competing
nancial interests or personal relationships that could have
appeared to inuence the work reported in this paper.
Poverty and wildlife crime / 303
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Received: 21-Sep-2020; Revised: 16-Jul-2021; Accepted: 16-Jul-2021; Published: 22-Sep-2021
... The motivations that drive criminal behaviour can vary enormously from one individual to another, and even within the same individual may change across different contexts or at different times in their rule-breaking career (Forsyth et al., 1998;Kahler and Gore, 2012;Ponta et al., 2021). On the other hand, there is an entrenched, pervasive idea that the deviant behaviour and crime in terrestrial conservation are largely poverty-driven (e.g., Hariohay et al., 2019;Sabuhoro et al., 2020;Anagnostou et al., 2021). However, not all environmental rule-breaking is driven by livelihood imperatives (e.g., Robbins et al., 2006;Bell et al., 2007;Duffy et al., 2016;Hübschle, 2016a;Travers et al., 2019). ...
... However, from our literature review this poverty appeared to be a product of PA existence (i.e., human well-being impacts) and not necessarily generational poverty (cf. . This observed trend is not uncommon, but it demonstrates the need to take poverty reduction issues seriously (e.g., MacKenzie and Hartter, 2013;Anagnostou et al., 2021). Even though some may argue that PAs are seldom designed specifically to reduce it or the reason behind the impoverishment (e.g., Scherl et al., 2004;Naughton-Treves and Holland, 2019). ...
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Nature conservation relies largely on peoples' rule adherence. Nevertheless, non-compliance with regulations threatens in situ conservation in nearly every protected area (PA) and remains an intractable issue. We reviewed the available published scholarly literature on non-compliant biological resource-use in terrestrial protected areas (TPAs) of sub-Saharan Africa. The focus is on two objectives, firstly, to disentangle the complex drivers behind the various types of deviant behaviour observed in these PAs, and secondly, to assess the strategies deployed on the ground to deter such illegalities. Using 72 selected journal articles published between 2001 and 2021, we recorded nine types of deviant behaviour or illegal resource extraction that were reported. Poaching activity overshadowed all other criminal behaviours. Drivers varied according to the type of crime perpetrated or resources targeted. Poverty was the most cited driver of non-compliance, particularly for illegal bushmeat hunting. PA resentment prompted by destructive errant wildlife was almost as strong a motivation as material poverty. To deter offenders from committing crime, a combination of interventions, i.e., law enforcement and a spectrum of non-enforcement approaches, such as Reformed Poachers Associations, long-term research sites and resource-access agreements, were deployed. Our synthesis demonstrates that the growing sub-Saharan African literature on non-compliant biological resource-use in TPAs is dominated by bushmeat poaching drivers. Other motives for PA offences by border villagers are scarcely dealt with in the peer-reviewed literature. Future studies of wildlife crime need to address PA transgression multidimensionality, not just bushmeat poaching, to reveal further drivers of transgressive behaviour and ultimately allow for evidence-informed conservation intervention design.
... IWT presents a major threat to biodiversity and societies alike (Scheffers et al. 2019;Arroyave et al. 2020;Anagnostou et al. 2021). Indeed, the uncontrolled smuggling of species, that is inherent to IWT, is a potential source of emerging diseases and invasive species (Hulme 2009). ...
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Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is a problem affecting societies and ecosystems. However, it remains unclear which management strategies are suitable for addressing this issue, particularly when considering the diversity of actors, interests, and nuances of the problem. We argue that inclusive management strategies require multiple—and, at times, even opposite—actors to coalesce around the fundamentals of the problem. An initial step towards formulating management strategies is identifying how the multiple actors involved understand the problem and its possible solutions (i.e., their attitudes). Although previous studies have addressed actors’ attitudes regarding IWT, they have rarely evaluated how attitudes vary among different actors. Against this backdrop, this study uses mixed methods to evaluate convergences in the attitudes of multiple actors (e.g., poachers, authorities, and police forces, among others) in Colombia. Importantly, this work has revealed that diverse IWT-related attitudes exist and are not necessarily shaped by contextual factors (e.g., social relations); instead, they are explained by actors’ experiences and preferred governance forms. We argue that IWT management must advance towards reconciling attitudes, bridging complementary actors, and fostering the institutionalisation of narratives at multiple scales.
... This phenomenon has also occurred alongside the Chinese diaspora to cities throughout SEA as well (Vu andNielsen 2018, Gorton et al 2011). Relatedly but conversely, however, Anagnostou et al (2021) argue that political exclusion, global conditions of structural poverty, and rising inequality in local and regional contexts, including through increased unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, can lead marginalized communities to pursue wildlife crime, such as poaching, as a livelihood strategy. While consumption of wildlife in Asia is a millenniaold practice, it assumes new risks as a source of zoonotic disease amid extensive landscape change, human migration, and the speed at which animals and humans-and thus pathogens-can travel (Zhu and Zhu 2020). ...
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Pandemics have occurred with increasing frequency over the past century as global travel enables rapid cross-continental transmission of viral zoonoses such as coronaviruses and influenzas. Yet the prevalence of global pandemics is also attributable to an increase in the number of these infectious diseases originating in wildlife or domesticated animals in Asia that jump to human hosts. Through a review of scholarly literature, this article argues that three interrelated land use phenomena—biodiversity loss, urbanization, agricultural expansion and intensification—in southern China and Southeast Asia have enabled past viral zoonotic ‘spillover’ events from animals to humans and make future pandemics more likely. Furthermore, much recent scholarly literature on zoonotic disease adopts the One Health framework, which highlights interdependency between viruses, animals, ecosystems, and human health. As such, we review and critique the salience of the One Health framework for research on zoonotic disease in Asia. We suggest that to better understand land use changes enabling zoonotic disease emergence, future health-environment research could incorporate qualitative, cross-scalar political-economic and political ecological dynamics within which human-wildlife relations are embedded.
... Unfortunately, budget cuts due to loss of tourism revenue due to COVID-19 have negatively affected rangers' ability to engage communities, perform wildlife law enforcement activities, and address HWC (Singh et al. 2021b). Reductions in ecotourism can also increase wildlife crime, as a reduction of tourist presence (and reduced ranger presence) has contributed to a widening gap in oversight (African Wildlife Foundation 2020; Anagnostou et al. 2021). Although many illegal hunters may be involved in wildlife crime as a result of multidimensional poverty social inequity, and historical injustices , rangers in some areas often face members of sophisticated transnational wildlife trafficking networks. ...
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Protecting wildlife and other natural resources requires engaging and empowering local communities, ensuring compliance with rules, and ongoing monitoring and research. At the frontline of these efforts are rangers. Despite their critical role in maintaining the integrity of parks and protected areas, rangers across the world are exposed to precarious employment conditions and hazardous work environments. We conducted an international scoping review to understand which employment and working conditions are examined in the context of the ranger occupation and to assess whether the concept of precarious employment is used in the conservation, criminological, and environmental sustainability literature on rangers. We reviewed publications from Web of Knowledge, Scopus, ProQuest, and Medline, and grey literature for relevant English language articles published between 2000 and 2021. Our findings are based on the analysis of 98 included studies. We found that the most commonly discussed aspect of rangers' employment and working conditions was the hazardous social and physical work environment, although this was often accompanied by severe income inadequacy, employment insecurity, and a lack of social security, regulatory support, and workplace rights. Such employment and working conditions can cause adverse impacts on rangers' mental and physical health, well-being, and safety, and are also detrimental to their ability to adequately protect biodiversity. We conclude by outlining the need for sustainable solutions and additional research based on established conceptualizations of the precarious employment concept and other related concepts. Lastly, we suggest that governments should acknowledge the importance of rangers through their recognition as essential workers and provide greater support to improve their employment conditions. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10669-022-09845-3.
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Unlabelled: Transformative change can help achieve the 2050 vision of biodiversity, but concrete ways to achieve it are only being discovered. To contribute to the understanding of the practical options for concrete action to foster, accelerate and maintain the transformative change, we assessed the leverage potential of existing conservation actions using the Meadows' Leverage points framework. We took the actions from the Conservation Actions Classification by the Conservation Measures Partnership. The outcome is a scheme that evaluates at which leverage points, from simple parameters to paradigms, the different conservation actions have potential to make an impact, and thus impact systemic change. We found that all conservation actions have potential to leverage systemic transformative change, with varying coverage of the leverage points. All leverage points were addressed by several actions. The scheme could be used both as an interim tool for evaluating transformative potential in different broad datasets, but also help with planning of new conservation policies, interventions and projects. We hope our work could be a first step toward standardization and broader adoption of assessing leverage in conservation research and practice, achieving broader socio-ecological system leverage with conservation tools. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10531-023-02600-3.
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Implementing community-based approaches to countering illegal wildlife trade is important to not only improve the effectiveness of strategies to protect wildlife, but also to promote equity and justice. We conducted an international exploratory review of interventions that aim to address the illegal trade in wildlife using a variety of community-based approaches. We focused our study on Felidae species in particular, as they factor centrally in the illegal wildlife trade, and have received significant conservation attention due to many being charismatic species. We searched for case studies that have been or are currently being implemented, and that were published between 2012-2022 in scholarly or grey literature databases. We extracted data on 40 case studies across 34 countries, including information on the approaches used, successes, challenges, and recommendations using a Theory of Change framework for community action on illegal wildlife trade. Initiatives to protect Felidae species from illegal trade could consider using multi-pronged approaches, consider historically underrepresented groups within communities-including women-in their design, and should evaluate the social and ecological outcomes to improve future efforts.
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Transformative change can help achieve the 2050 vision of biodiversity, but concrete ways to achieve it are only being discovered. To contribute to the understanding of the practical options for concrete action to foster, accelerate and maintain the transformative change, we assessed the leverage potential of existing conservation actions using the Meadows’ Leverage points framework. We took the actions from the Conservation Actions Classification by the Conservation Measures Partnership. The outcome is a scheme that evaluates at which leverage points, from simple parameters to paradigms, the different conservation actions have potential to make an impact, and thus impact systemic change. We found that all conservation actions have potential to leverage systemic transformative change, with varying coverage of the leverage points. All leverage points were addressed by several actions. The scheme could be used both as an interim tool for evaluating transformative potential in different broad datasets, but also help with planning of new conservation policies, interventions and projects. We hope our work could be a first step toward standardization and broader adoption of assessing leverage in conservation research and practice, achieving broader socio-ecological system leverage with conservation tools.
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The hunting and consumption of wildlife is a global practice with practices that are socially nested, mediated, and shared across social categories, including gender. Research into wildlife trade increasingly recognizes the importance of understanding and investigating social drivers and processes of hunting and consumption. However, studies of social norms, motivations, and actions specific to women are still lacking within wildlife trade literature, particularly within Southeast Asia. Women are central to how a society operates and to societal practices, and they are fundamental actors in initiating change in these practices. In Southeast Asia, women are especially powerful actors within resident matrilineal and bilateral societies. This article will reflect on wildlife trafficking through the roles and activities of women. While women’s narratives are lacking across all current wildlife trade research, I will highlight in this article critical research gaps, gender-specific issues in methodology, and important research opportunities.
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The global illegal wildlife trade has been anecdotally linked to other serious crimes, such as fraud, corruption, and money laundering, as well as the cross-border trafficking of drugs, arms, counterfeit goods, and persons. As research on this topic is scarce and sporadic, we conducted a scoping literature review to gather information across multiple disciplines and evidence types on crime convergences in the illegal wildlife trade. We reviewed 150 papers published between 2000 and 2020. We found that the illegal trade in many of the most frequently trafficked species have reportedly converged with numerous other serious and organised crimes, most commonly drug trafficking. Convergences can occur in a variety of ways, although the diversification of organised crime groups, parallel trafficking of contraband, and use of enabling crimes (such as corruption and violence) were the most frequently described. Possible explanations for our results and future research directions are discussed.
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The intensified illegal trade of wildlife has contributed to the unsustainable decline of wildlife populations, the de-stabilization of ecosystems, and threatens economic development and human security. Though often lacking empirical evidence, convergence theory has emerged recently as a topic of interest among researchers, practitioners, and the media to explain the growing overlap of criminal activities in an increasingly globalized world. In this paper, I explain the interdisciplinary theoretical foundations for the interconnectivity of criminal networks, including connections between illegal wildlife trade networks and non-state armed groups. I also outline and discuss various perspectives on the convergence of the illegal wildlife trade with other organized crime activities. I conclude by highlighting the urgent need for a better understanding of the role of the organized criminal groups involved in the illegal wildlife trade, and of how these groups converge with other types of criminal activities. The policy implications of filling in this knowledge gap are twofold: firstly, understanding how criminal networks converge can facilitate the implementation of more effective law enforcement and investigations that target high-profile offenders, as opposed to focusing on low-level poachers; and secondly, this understanding can foster more cooperation across agencies and jurisdictions to address multiple crime types and crime in convergence settings.
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As part of a multi-disciplinary programme of work focused on intelligence-led action against financial crime in illegal wildlife trade (IWT), the Public Governance division of the Basel Institute on Governance is leading research and community engagement activities in East Africa. The objective is to contribute towards the prevention and combating of IWT by developing a better understanding of the context-specific drivers of trafficking and the role of informal social networks and their associated corrupt practices in facilitating such illicit behaviours. This Working Paper presents a broad overview of relevant literature on wildlife trafficking, focused on two main questions: Why does wildlife trafficking happen? How does wildlife trafficking happen? It reflects on important themes and dynamics in regard to the wildlife trade in Africa; the drivers and facilitators of wildlife trafficking; the characteristics, functions and operations of trafficking networks; corruption as a cross-cutting theme; and the important role of Uganda as a transit country for the trafficking of wildlife. The literature review provides the conceptual anchor for social network analysis and field research in East Africa, in particular Uganda. The insights gained are important stepping stones to address the third main question of the wider research project: What can be done to curb wildlife trafficking? Developing a better understanding of the root causes of IWT, along with the application of social network analysis to support the investigation of related crimes, provides a novel and complementary approach towards the prevention and effective combating of IWT in East Africa.
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For over half a century, worldwide growth in affluence has continuously increased resource use and pollutant emissions far more rapidly than these have been reduced through better technology. The affluent citizens of the world are responsible for most environmental impacts and are central to any future prospect of retreating to safer environmental conditions. We summarise the evidence and present possible solution approaches. Any transition towards sustainability can only be effective if far-reaching lifestyle changes complement technological advancements. However, existing societies, economies and cultures incite consumption expansion and the structural imperative for growth in competitive market economies inhibits necessary societal change. Current environmental impact mitigation neglects over-consumption from affluent citizens as a primary driver. The authors highlight the role of bottom-up movements to overcome structural economic growth imperatives spurring consumption by changing structures and culture towards safe and just systems.
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The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has impacted the world in ways not seen in generations. Initial evidence suggests one of the effects is crime rates, which appear to have fallen drastically in many communities around the world. We argue that the principal reason for the change is the government ordered stay-at-home orders, which impacted the routine activities of entire populations. Because these orders impacted countries, states, and communities at different times and in different ways, a naturally occurring, quasi-randomized control experiment has unfolded, allowing the testing of criminological theories as never before. Using new and traditional data sources made available as a result of the pandemic criminologists are equipped to study crime in society as never before. We encourage researchers to study specific types of crime, in a temporal fashion (following the stay-at-home orders), and placed-based. The results will reveal not only why, where, when, and to what extent crime changed, but also how to influence future crime reduction.
This book is concerned with the social science of poverty and covers topics ranging from the intricacies of measuring poverty using objective quantitative, income-based measures, to the interrelationships between structural violence, poverty, and social suffering; capability deprivation as the basis for analyzing poverty; ideologies and beliefs about poverty; how politics and institutions shape poverty and inequality; and the effects of poverty on child development. The book also explores the link between gender and poverty; the historical origins of poverty in developing countries; poor neighborhoods in the metropolis; how segregation perpetuates disadvantage; the association between nonmarital family structures, poverty, and inequality; whether social ties matter for poor people who are seeking employment; the link between poverty and education; intergenerational mobility; hunger and food insecurity; and the relation between crime and poverty.
More than 30 countries have put in place natural resource revenue-sharing systems – systems that allocate revenues from natural resources to subnational governments separately from other fiscal revenues. The main aim of such systems is to enable natural resource-producing regions of a country to benefit more from natural resource extraction in these regions and mitigate conflicts between national and subnational governments. Natural resource revenue-sharing systems can be derivation-based, in which case revenues are allocated predominantly by origin, or indicator-based, in which revenues are allocated typically by the equalisation principle. Derivation-based systems aim to compensate producing regions for the costs of resource extraction more directly, but they also bring significant equity challenges, volatility and public financial management challenges at the subnational level. They also may encourage accelerated resource exploitation. In contrast, indicator-based systems aim for greater equalisation but may suffer from excessive complexity. They are largely used to counterbalance the downsides of derivation-based systems and may not be politically acceptable to resource-producing regions. To work smoothly and enhance trust between national and subnational authorities, natural resource revenue-sharing systems need to be overseen by an adequate governance mechanism and be transparent. If well designed and implemented, resource revenue sharing can help drive economic transition and poverty reduction in resource-rich regions.
Explores the effects of the 2008-09 global financial crisis on poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean. the authors describe and deconstruct the effects of the crisis on poverty using data from comparable household budget surveys and labor surveys. The authors also provide macro-micro modeling of crisis and no-crisis scenarios for Brazil and Mexico, as well as the big picture and program specific details of social protection policy responses for these and other countries.