BIOSEC Bitesize series: Commodification & Consumption. Taking a look at the key publications, blogs and podcasts that define our research.

Through our ‘BIOSEC Bitesize’ series, we are looking back on the key publications, blogs and podcasts that define our research, offering you a curated reading, watching and listening list for each topic.

Next up we have…

Commodification and consumption

Many donors, governments and NGOs assume that the illegal wildlife trade is caused by poverty. But rising demand for luxury wildlife products among European and North American consumers is a key driver. Similarly, often responses to IWT focus on certain iconic species, leaving lesser known flora and fauna at risk of exploitation.

Rigorous social research into practices of consumption affecting wildlife populations is important in order to understand what drives demand for particular wildlife products. Culturally sensitive and historically-relevant research can inform more effective efforts to reduce harm to trafficked wildlife by understanding the foundational dynamics driving IWT and wildlife consumptive practices.

Our research team has a particular expertise in the global cacti and succulent trade, the caviar and songbird  trade in Europe and demand reduction campaigns in Vietnam.

Team members

Hannah Dickinson | Doctoral Researcher –

Teresa Lappe-Osthege | Research Associate –

Jared Margulies | Post-doctoral researcher –

Anh VuPost-Doctoral Researcher –


Journal article | ‘The Imaginary “Asian Super Consumer”: A critique of demand reduction campaigns for the illegal wildlife trade’ 

Policy Brief | ‘Understanding the motivations of actors engaged in illicit succulent plant trade’. Author: Jared Margulies. A version of this brief is also available in Spanish.

Policy Brief | ‘Reducing demand for illegal wildlife products: is there any way forward?. Author: Anh Vu.

Zine |Who Steals a Cactus?’

Zine | ‘Wildlife Consumers’

Zine | ‘Animal Remains’

Blog | ‘Novelty, Desire and the Nature of Precedent: Human-animal relations in the age of COVID-19’

Short film | Commodification & Consumption

Podcast | ‘Luxury and the Illegal Wildlife Trade’

Podcast | ‘Understanding and Reducing Demand in Wildlife’