Understanding markets to conserve trade-threatened species in CITES

Challendar, Dan, Harrop, Stuart and McMillan, Douglas (2015) Understanding markets to conserve trade-threatened species in CITES. Biological Conservation, 187. pp. 249-259. ISSN 0006-3207

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Abstract

International trade in wildlife is a major threat to biodiversity conservation. CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is the primary mechanism for maintaining sustainability in international wildlife trade. However, CITES has been criticised because it relies on regulatory measures but disregards the economic reality of wildlife trade. Through means of a case study on the trade in pangolins (Manis spp.) in Asia, we critically evaluate the CITES approach to controlling trade and demonstrate significant inadequacies to it. This is because it fails to accurately monitor supply, particularly where trade is illegal, it does little to consider the complex nature of demand for wildlife products or the impact of trade controls in realistic terms, and it does little to contend with changing market dynamics. To more effectively manage trade we argue that reforms are needed within CITES. Specifically, improved monitoring of supply (e.g., by accounting for illegal and legal trade) and monitoring of demand and prices for wildlife (e.g., through national wildlife consumption surveys) would enable the Convention to function from a more comprehensive understanding of wildlife trade. These data, integrated with the Convention’s existing trade database, would allow more realistic evaluation of trade controls, and could inform decision-making and the implementation of interventions which go beyond regulation and address demand directly. In a world of rapid economic and social change understanding markets and addressing demand as well as supply is essential to conserving the world’s trade threatened species.

Keywords: CITES, demand, economics, markets, pangolin, wildlife trade

Item Type: Article
Keywords: CITES, demand, economics, markets, pangolin, wildlife trade
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sussex European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0079 Special topics, A-Z > HC0079.E5 Environmental policy and economic development. Sustainable development Including environmental economics
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF1701 Tariff. Free trade. Protectionism
K Law
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0001 Natural history (General) > QH0075 Nature conservation
Depositing User: Stuart Harrop
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2015 15:16
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2015 14:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/53843
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