College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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July 24, 2014

Global wildlife decline driving slave labor and organized crime

By Sarah Yang, UC Berkeley Media Relations

Berkeley — Global decline of wildlife populations is driving increases in violent conflicts, organized crime and child labor around the world, according to a policy paper led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. The authors call for biologists to join forces with experts such as economists, political scientists, criminologists, public health officials and international development specialists to collectively tackle a complex challenge.

The paper, to be published Thursday, July 24, in the journal Science, highlights how losses of food and employment from wildlife decline cause increases in human trafficking and other crime, as well as foster political instability.

A child grabs sleep wherever possible after a long day of labor in West Africa's struggling fishery. Photo: Copyright Jessica Pociask, WANT Expeditions.

"This paper is about recognizing wildlife decline as a source of social conflict rather than a symptom," said lead author Justin Brashares, associate professor of ecology and conservation at UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. "Billions of people rely directly and indirectly on wild sources of meat for income and sustenance, and this resource is declining. It's not surprising that the loss of this critical piece of human livelihoods has huge social consequences. Yet, both conservation and political science have generally overlooked these fundamental connections."

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July 1, 2014

Berkeley a big part of new UC initiative on global food needs

By the UC Berkeley Public Affairs team

The University of California is launching an initiative to marshal resources across the UC campuses — including Berkeley’s 90 courses, 150 faculty and staff and multiple institutes and centers devoted to the study of agriculture and food — to address global challenges related to food.

UC President Janet Napolitano announced the initiative today (July 1) at a press conference with restaurateur and sustainable food leader Alice Waters, among others, at the Edible Schoolyard at King Middle School in Berkeley.

Sustainable food leader Alice Waters and UC President Janet Napolitano in the Edible Schoolyard. (UC photo by Robert Durell)

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