War and Wildlife: Linking Armed Conflict to Conservation

War and Wildlife: Linking Armed Conflict to Conservation

Source: Ecological Society of America, 2016

Author(s): Kaitlyn M. Gaynor, Kathryn J. Fiorella, Gillian H. Gregory, David J. Kurz, Katherine L. Seto, Lauren S. Withey, and Justin S. Brashares

Countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe

Topics: Livelihoods, Renewable Resources, Weapons, Waste, and Pollution

Added: 28/12/2016


Armed conflict throughout the world's biodiversity hotspots poses a critical threat to conservation efforts. To date, research and policy have focused more on the ultimate outcomes of conflict for wildlife rather than on the ecological, social, and economic processes that create those outcomes. Yet the militarization that accompanies armed conflict, as well as consequent changes in governance, economies, and human settlement, has diverse influences on wildlife populations and habitats. To better understand these complex dynamics, we summarized 144 case studies from around the world and identified 24 distinct pathways linking armed conflict to wildlife outcomes. The most commonly cited pathways reflect changes to institutional and socioeconomic factors, rather than tactical aspects of conflict. Marked differences in the most salient pathways emerge across geographic regions and wildlife taxa. Our review demonstrates that mitigating the negative effects of conflict on biodiversity conservation requires a nuanced understanding of the ways in which conflict affects wildlife populations and communities.


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