Chapter 26 from Routledge Handbook of Rewilding

Chapter 26|10 pages –  Routledge Handbook of Rewilding – publication Nov/22

* Rewilding, the wildlife trade and human conflict

By Rene Beyers, Sally Hawkins

This chapter examines the relationships between conflict, wildlife trade, and rewilding. Trade in wildlife, both legal and illegal, has increased exponentially in the last few decades, which has led, at least in part, to the decimation of numerous wildlife species, including keystone species that have an important role in the functioning of ecosystems. This affects trophic cascades, leading to the degradation of ecosystems and decreased ecosystem services. Conflict and civil strife have also been increasing globally. In most cases conflict results in a decline of species mainly through increased trade in wildlife for food and revenue, habitat degradation, and a breakdown in law and order. If rewilding is to be effective in restoring trophic cascades and ecosystem functioning, addressing the social and ecological impacts of conflict and wildlife trade should be seen as an integral part of rewilding. Interventions may include controlling trade and hunting, involving local communities, promoting sustainable wildlife use and curbing illegal wildlife trade.

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