Reducing Demand for Overexploited Wildlife Products: Lessons from Systematic Reviews from Outside Conservation Science
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Description: The demand for overexploited wildlife products (e.g., rhino horn, tiger bones, bear bile) has been increasingly recognised as growing threat to global biodiversity. In recent years, conservationists have recognised the importance of targeting consumer demand to counter this unsustainable trade. However, reliable evidence is currently lacking regarding the effectiveness of common demand reduction interventions. A review by Veríssimo and Wan (2019), identified 256 demand reduction campaigns but found that only 25% reported any data regarding change in consumer behaviour and most relied on self-reported outcomes and anecdotes. They concluded that the lack of robust impact evaluation made it difficult to draw insights to inform future efforts to reduce demand. There is thus an urgent need for future campaigns to be informed by empirical evidence to ensure our efforts are not only effective and efficient but are also not counterproductive. To help fill this knowledge gap, our article synthesised the evidence on relevant interventions from the broader academic literature (e.g., public health and social marketing). Specifically, demand reduction interventions targeting harmful products (e.g., cigarettes, alcohol, illicit drugs etc) that may have demand parallels with wildlife products.