Authors say wildlife loss leads to exploitative labor practices, violence, and organized crime
Study’s recommendations call for multi-disciplinary approach to understand underlying causes and far-ranging effects of wildlife loss
(NEW YORK-JULY 24, 2014) – Citing many sobering examples of how wildlife loss leads to conflict among people around the world, a new article co-authored by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages (HEAL) Program Director Dr. Christopher Golden, calls for an interdisciplinary approach to tackle global biodiversity decline.
The harvest of wild animals directly supports about 15% of the world’s people and provides protein for more than a billion of the world’s poor. It should come as no surprise that today’s unprecedented loss of wildlife, is bringing with it severe repercussions in terms of conflict and human tragedy around the world.
The article, led by Justin Brashares of UC Berkeley and involving a team of sociologists and ecologists, offers three examples in which declines can be linked to conflict;
“Unsustainable human exploitation of wildlife populations does not have singular effects on ecological integritry, but rather has far-reaching consequences that lead to the instability of our health, livelihoods and national security,” said Chris Golden.
The authors believe that approaches based on a single discipline, such as law enforcement, will not tackle the myriad challenges of defaunation (loss of wildlife due to human pressures) and its impacts. Such approaches, they say, target outcomes rather than understanding the underlying factors driving demand for wildlife. Instead, the authors argue that an integration of disciplines that combines understanding in ecological, social, economic, political, and other issues is needed.
“Wildlife loss is widely viewed as a symptom of social unrest and injustice; we show with this work that is often the source of these social outcomes. As such, wildlife management should be a central element of efforts to mitigate conflicts as seemingly disparate as child slavery, ivory trafficking, and piracy,” said Brashares.
The authors point to climate change policy as a possible model for an integrative approach, pointing out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has successfully brought together academia with scientists and policy-makers, and is far-reaching in its influence. The authors say the formation of a similarly and far-reaching working group is long overdue for addressing the global decline of wildlife.
“Wildlife decline and social conflict,” appears in the July 25th issue edition of the magazine, Science. Co-authors include: Justin S. Brashares, Briana Abrahms, Kathryn J. Fiorella, Cheryl E. Hojnowski, Ryan M. Marsh, Tristan A. Nunez, Kathrine Seto and Lauren Withey of the University of California, Berkeley; Christopher Golden of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Harvard School of Public Health; and Douglas J. McCauley of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
For an abstract of the article, please go to: www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.1256734
For further information on this story or to speak with Chris Golden, please contact Scott Smith at 718-220-3698 or email email@example.com.
Scott Smith – 718-220-3698, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org and www.wcs-heal.org/. Follow: @thewcs.
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