Characterizing efforts to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products
The unsustainable trade in wildlife is a key threat to Earth's biodiversity. Efforts to mitigate this threat have traditionally focused on regulation and enforcement, and there is a growing interest in campaigns to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products. We aimed to characterize these behavior‐change campaigns and the evidence of their impacts. We searched peer‐reviewed and grey literature repositories and over 200 institutional websites to retrieve information on demand‐reduction campaigns. We found 236 campaigns, mainly in the grey literature. Since the 1970s, the number of campaigns increased, although for over 15% a start date could not be found. Asia was the primary focus, although at the national level the United States was where most campaigns took place. Campaigns most often focused on a single species of mammal; other vertebrates groups, with the exception of sharks, received limited attention. Many campaigns focused on broad themes, such as the wildlife trade in general or seafood. Thirty‐seven percent of campaigns reported some information on their inputs, 98% on strategies, 70% on outputs, 37% on outcomes (i.e., changes in the target audience), and 9% on impacts (i.e., biological changes or threat reduction). Information on outcomes and impacts was largely anecdotal or based on research designs that are at a high risk of bias, such as pre‐ and postcampaign comparisons. It was unclear whether demand‐reduction campaigns had direct behavioral or biological impacts. The lack of robust impact evaluation made it difficult to draw insights to inform future efforts, a crucial part of effectively addressing complex issues, such as the wildlife trade. If demand‐reduction campaigns are to become a cornerstone of the efforts to mitigate the unsustainable trade in wildlife, conservationists need to adopt more rigorous impact evaluation and a more collaborative approach that fosters the sharing of data and insights.
Veríssimo, D. and Wan, A. K. 2019. Characterizing efforts to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.13227
Published: Apr 2019 | Categories: Research Articles
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