A Canterbury Tale of Conservation

This week I visited Professor Douglas McMillan at the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE) in Canterbury, UK. I studied my PhD in Agricultural Economics in Wye College, University of London which was 10 miles along the Stour river from the cathedral town. As the train approaches Canterbury, the towering sight of the cathedral rises into view above the murky, wet landscape. I imagined how this would have looked to someone in the 17th century – a WTC of its day. I told my American colleague to watch A Canterbury Tale by Powell and Pressburger to get a feel for the charms of pre-war Kent with its oast houses and hop fields.


How does Harry Potter have an impact on owls – ask DICE, University of Kent

I made a presentation to staff and students on ITC’s trade and biodiversity work. Beforehand the twenty or so Masters and PhD students gave a snapshot of their research. The diversity of subjects covered is extraordinary. I hope that the research is picked up by policy makers to help us understand more about how markets for wildlife products work. The space is currently very much dominated by NGO advocates for banning trade as the only policy option for conserving wildlife, plants and timber. More impartial economic analysis of conservation incentives is needed to guide us through different policy options.

Here are some of the subjects covered by DICE students:

  • The role of the internet, social networks (and Harry Potter) in trade in wildlife
  • The dynamics of poaching tigers in Bangladesh
  • Human-elephant conflict in Kenya
  • Conservation and corruption
  • Livelihoods from sustainable sourcing of plants in Bulgaria
  • The ornamental fish trade
  • Traceability techniques for trade in plants and animals
  • The trade in amphibians and economic costs of zoonoses
  • Reptile trade and livelihoods in Madagascar
  • Consumer demand for wildlife products in Asia
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