Around the world, levels of unsustainable and illegal natural resource exploitation have escalated in scope, scale, and severity. Illegal over-harvest of plant and animal species occurs around the world and poses risks to species, ecosystems, and people. Beyond the risk of species loss, overexploitation represents stolen natural resources, is associated with corruption and insecurity, human rights abuses, and regional destabilization in some of the world's most vulnerable developing nations. Scientific understanding of human behavior can improve our ability to predict and adapt to changes emerging as a cause and/or consequence of natural resource declines.
This presentation will discuss conservation criminology—an interdisciplinary and applied science for understanding the risks to global natural resources. By integrating natural resource management, risk and decision science, and criminology, conservation criminology–based approaches ideally result in improved social resilience, biodiversity conservation, and secure human livelihoods. Two case studies will illustrate how conservation criminology offers insight about crime prevention (i.e., focusing on crime as well as criminals) as well as responsive law enforcement. The first case study investigates how mapping the opportunities underlying illegal rosewood logging in Madagascar has enhanced local guardianship of forests. The second case study highlights different typologies of wildlife poachers and traffickers in Indonesia and the suite of motivations driving poachers to target particular high-value species. Although the presentation will focus on wildlife trafficking and illegal logging, conservation criminology is applicable to other environmental risks, including illegal fishing and mining.