6 September 2016 09:00

The full complexity of ‘green criminology’, including poaching, wildlife crime, forest degradation and environmental activism, and the different responses to them, has been captured in a new book by a Lancaster University criminologist.

The Geography of Environmental Crime: Conservation, Wildlife Crime and Environmental Activism’ examines the theory and practice of dealing with environmental harm. 

Edited by Lancaster University Law School’s Dr Gary Potter, Dr Angus Nurse of Middlesex University and Professor Matthew Hall, of the University of Lincoln, the book discusses the social construction of green crimes and the varied ways in which poaching and other conservation crimes are perceived, operate and are ideologically driven, as well as practical issues in environmental criminal justice.

The book, through the contributions of experts from a range of academic backgrounds, provides a platform to encourage students to debate new ideas about environmental law enforcement, policy, and crime prevention, detection and punishment in the evolving field of green criminology.

 “The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion-dollar industry in which organised crime and even terrorist groups are often implicated,” says Dr Potter. “It is a priority area for international policing organisations such as Europol and Interpol.”

Poaching and the illegal wildlife trade are just two areas of environmental harm covered by the emerging area of green criminology addressed in a new book.

The Great Elephant Census made headlines recently. Elephant populations in Africa have declined by 30% in the last 7 years, with poaching being the main cause of this decline.

“It is not just elephants that are under threat, although charismatic mega-fauna such as elephants, rhinos and tigers tend to get the most attention,” added Dr Potter.

“The major driver behind poaching is the illegal trade in body parts such as elephant tusks, rhino horns and tiger skins, although the demand for bush meat and exotic pets also play a role, particularly for smaller animals.”

Dr Potter will introduce a new Green Criminology module to the undergraduate criminology programme/BA criminology degree, also be available to law students, in the forthcoming academic year, making Lancaster one of a small number of UK institutions to offer this specialist area available for undergraduate study.