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Tools and terms for understanding illegal wildlife trade

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number9
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)479-489
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date21/09/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is a global conservation issue that threatens thousands of species, including fish, fungi, medicinal plants, and charismatic mammals. Despite widespread recognition of the problem, debates on the science and policy of IWT generally concentrate on a few high- profile species (eg rhinoceros, tigers, elephants) and often overlook or conflate complex IWT products, actors, networks, and contexts. A poor understanding of IWT is aggravated by the lack of systematic vocabulary and conceptual tools with which to analyze complex phenomena in a more structured way. We synthesize the available evidence on IWT across taxa and contexts into a typology- based framework that considers (1) the diversity of wildlife products; (2) the roles of various actors involved with IWT, including harvesters, intermediaries, and consumers; and (3) common IWT network configurations. We propose ways in which these tools can inform structured analyses of IWT, to help ensure more nuanced, appropriate, targeted, and effective responses to illegal wildlife harvest, trade, and use.

Bibliographic note

© 2016 Ecological Society of America. All rights reserved. Front Ecol Environ 2016; 14(9):479–489, doi: 10.1002/fee.1325