Political ecology of security: tackling the illegal wildlife trade

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This article sets out a political ecology approach to thinking about security. It draws together conceptual debates from IR, green criminology and political ecology in order to develop new ways of thinking about and analyzing the political ecologies of security. To date political ecologists have focused on conflicts and struggles, but have not fully engaged with thinking about security. In this article we examine the ways that responses to the illegal wildlife trade have encouraged and supported greater integration between conservation and security. We use the example of the deployment of private military companies for anti poaching training and operations to tease out the key features of a political ecology approach to security; this focuses on excavating the relations between capital, nature and security, being attentive to the dynamics of race and gender, and taking an ethically engaged positionality to highlight the voices of marginalized communities. In so doing, the purpose of this article is to act as a starting point for developing a much clearer and stronger conceptual basis for political ecologists to engage with questions of security.

Keywords: political ecology, security, illegal wildlife trade, private military companies, conservation, anti poaching, race, gender, capital

How to Cite: Duffy, R. V. & Brockington, D. (2022) “Political ecology of security: tackling the illegal wildlife trade”, Journal of Political Ecology. 29(1). doi: