Every year humans buy and sell hundreds of millions of wild animals and plants around the world. Much of this commerce is legal, but illegal trade and over-harvesting have driven many species toward extinction.
One common response is to adopt bans on trading in threatened or endangered species. But research shows that this approach can backfire. Restricting high-value species can actually trigger market booms.
I study environmental globalisation and have spent nearly 10 years analysing trade between Madagascar and China in rosewood, or hong mu in Mandarin. Chinese people use this term to describe 29 species of very expensive hardwoods, many of which are endangered. MORE
Header image: Rosewood furniture and boards fill a southern China warehouse. Credit: George Zhu, CC BY-ND