Published in January 2022
This module is a resource for lecturers
Identify CITES-listed flora species that grow in your country.
Do research on crime prevention policies and practices. Investigate whether/how flora and forest crime prevention exists in county/region X.
Suggestion for a class/group research: how could a forest crime prevention policy and/or practice be developed in country/region/municipality X?
- Identify crime opportunities in country/region X. For example, look at the organisation and policy/practice of the land registry and its possible vulnerabilities and challenges.
- What is the role of crime prevention in general, as part of the crime policy and law enforcement policy in general in country x?
- Which stakeholders should be involved in such as policy?
There can be a focus on illegal logging, illegal timber trade/trafficking, or on illegal land conversion, illegal land grabbing in general.
Investigate the national policy framework of a particular country and/or region (state, province) with regard to forests, timber, and forest crime/illegal forest activities (desk research).
Suggestion: Review policy documents, with particular attention for the language and (‘”framing”) that is used, such as by doing a discourse analysis on the forest crime policy and illegal forest activities. Discourse analysis is one of the research methods of cultural criminology (and also of cultural studies, language studies, and media studies).
Other possible questions are:
- How does the policy of country/region X relate to the international policy standards and initiatives?
- How does country X compare to other countries in the region?
- How is forest crime (illegal forest activities) represented and discussed in the national (and international) media of country X? It is being discussed as crime issue, or as a trade and compliance issue?
- Economic angle: what can be found in policy documents about the budget for combating forest crime? Or about how much this kind of crime costs the country (lost revenue from taxation, lost tourism revenue, etc.?)
Investigate law in action: how does the policy of country/region X look in practice?
- Compare law in the books with law in action (law enforcement). What is the law enforcement of police/environmental protection agencies in practice (a), how many cases are being prosecuted (b), and what do the courts decide/rule?
- What is the governmental crime policy, what are the priorities, and what is the place of forest crime within the anti-crime policy in general? For example, how does flora and forest law enforcement relate or compare to other types of crime in country X?
- Possible indicators: a) what is the available budget for flora, timber and forest law enforcement and compliance, b) what is the place and priority (in terms of budget and in terms of policy discourse) of environmental crime as compared to other types of crime and other environmental issues? c) What is the number of available staff (rangers, environmental police, etc.) for combating and preventing flora and forest related crimes and other violations?
- How does the deployment of staff relate to possible forest crime hotspots in country X?
- Suggestion for research on law in action: interviews by phone/face-to-face/email) how laws are being applied in practice (and how much manpower and priority is given to these crimes, e.g. number of cases brought to police, prosecutors and courts, etc.
Ask students to research how hardware or furniture stores document their supply chains and whether they inform customers about where their timber products come from and what species they involve.
Possible research questions: how do the enforcement and compliance systems around endangered and/or illegally traded flora (botanical trade or timber trade) look like in country X — on paper (legislation) and/or in practice (implementation) ?
- Do a media search on the legislation and enforcement of flora and CITES in country X. See if you can find information about the institutions that are responsible for CITES compliance. You can also find out which institutions are responsible for compliance and enforcement with regard to non-CITES species.
- Go to a shop or local market where they sell plants, flowers, and/or timber and see if you can find species that are endangered and listed on CITES, such as cacti. Another option is to visit shops online and see what is available in a/your home country and/or in other countries.
- More advanced exercise options:
- Look for prosecution cases, convictions and possible court decisions related to crime against flora.
- Interview someone who works at the responsible law enforcement and/or environmental protection agency to learn about their work and cases.
- Investigate law in the books (desktop research). Make an inventory of relevant legislation in country/region X with regard to illegal exploitation of wild flora.
- Investigate which institutions are responsible for flora and forest issues. If possible, try to find information about the number of staff, priorities, and cases.
- Choose one type of wild flora (plant or tree), listed in CITES or not, which is known to be traded illegally. Try to trace it from a source to a destination country, using open sources.
- Try to find out how the enforcement system works (or not).
Next: Core reading