The BIOSEC project critically examined the growing inter-relationships between biodiversity conservation and security.
BIOSEC – Biodiversity and Security: Understanding Environmental Crime, illegal wildlife trade and threat finance – is a four-year project, funded by a EURO 1.8million European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Investigator Grant.
Running until August 2020, BIOSEC looked into what constitutes an environmental crime, the responses by the European Union to the illegal wildlife trade, and how new technology is being used to tackle poaching and trafficking. The project aimed to generate new data on the illegal wildlife trade to demonstrate the ways that biodiversity protection and security are linked, as well as providing new approaches to understanding the links between the two.
With policy-makers urgently needing more information in order to design more effective and socially just responses, the BIOSEC project team also sought to produce policy relevant information to assist and support in practical actions to protect wildlife across the globe.
The main research question
Are concerns about protecting biodiversity and global security becoming integrated? And if so, in what ways?
We aimed to answer this by focusing on five sub-questions.
What is an environmental crime? In what ways are biodiversity losses as a result of illegal wildlife trade being defined as global security threats?
How does an environmental crime approach to illegal wildlife trade change our understanding of security?
What is the nature of the EU policy response to illegal wildlife trafficking?
How are new technologies from the security sector being used to tackle wildlife trafficking?
How does an environmental crime approach to wildlife trafficking shape responses in source and end user countries?
To develop pioneering theoretical approaches to understanding the links between biodiversity and security.
The project wanted to develop a fresh and innovative theoretical framework for political ecology. This would help us understand the challenges posed by global environmental change, by specifically exploring the potential links between biodiversity protection, illegal wildlife trade and environmental crime.
To generate new kinds of empirical data on the illegal wildlife trade to demonstrate the ways that biodiversity protection and security are increasingly linked.
The team analysed existing datasets and undertook ethnographic fieldwork to generate new data regarding the illegal wildlife trade. The project combined information from source, transit and end user countries to gain better understanding of the challenges faced by organisations dealing directly with the illegal wildlife trade. We wanted to understand how communities on the ground experience the integration of biodiversity conservation and security.
To provide policy relevant information on the links between biodiversity protection and global security to government agencies, international organisations and NGOs.
As we develop new security-oriented approaches to the illegal wildlife trade, policy-makers urgently need more information in order to design more effective and socially just responses. The BIOSEC project team aimed to develop new approaches to assist and support user groups in practical actions.