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Environmental Futures

The Environmental Futures Project undertakes rigorous independent social sciences research that forms the basis for sound evidence-based interventions to reduce illegal wildlife trades and environmental crimes. 

The focus is on the governance (understood as the shaping of the flow of events) of the ecosystems of illegal economies by a wide variety of nodes — state and non-state, public-private, legal-illegal.  Understanding the governance of safety and security is thus the point of departure, with a specific focus on illegal wildlife economies and the ecosystems that support them, as well as their intersections with legal economies. Annette Hübschle, a Senior Researcher, is leading the project together with Clifford Shearing. The key research question asks how illegal and legal global wildlife economies operate. Once we gain a better understanding of wildlife trade that is damaging/beneficial to ecological systems, we will develop evidence-based policy research that identifies the most appropriate leverage points to disrupt illegal wildlife economies and strengthen legal ones.


Ongoing research projects:

  • Why do local people poach? A study of how local communities are incentivised to participate in illegal and legal wildlife economies
  • Communities and conservation: Design principles for pro-poor conservation
  • Contested illegality: Unpacking legality/illegality and legitimacy/illegitimacy in illicit economies
  • Green violence and militarisation: a study on the impacts of military and security measures and tactics on local communities
  • The structure and functioning of illegal economies: a study with the aim of understanding why illicit economies are difficult to disrupt and how different segments of the supply chain are interlinked using illicit wildlife trades as a case study
  • Towards an understanding of the links between transnational organized antiquities and wildlife crime in Africa: Joint project looking into the links, similarities and differences between transnational organized antiquities and wildlife crime
  • Valuation in illegal markets: on-going research into consumption, demand and valuation in illegal (wildlife) economies
  • Nodal governance: On-going research into the role of ‘upperworld’ actors in illicit economies, including industry actors, the transport, banking and import-export sectors
  • Understanding the harm landscapes of the 21st century: Exploratory research into harm landscapes associated with ecological and environmental damage, water security and climate change and respective ecosystems of support

Annette Hubschle is a CI on a €1.5 million European Research Council starting grant to study how objects influence criminal networks, with a particular focus on objects such as antiquities, fossils, and rare and collectable wildlife.  Trafficking transformations: objects as agents in transnational criminal networks’ is the title of the project is led by Dr Donna Yates, University of Maastricht.

 Access all Annette Hübschle's publications on researchgate >>>>