Plant Blindness and the Law on International Trade in Wildlife

Tanya Wyatt, Alison Hutchinson

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While habitat destruction threatens other-than-human life across the planet, overexploitation and illegal trade are the second leading source of threats to wildlife. ‘Wildlife’ though predominantly is taken to mean other-than-human animals, and plants are largely overlooked or ignored even though they are critical to human societies and the health of the planet. Adopting a green criminological analysis, this article provides evidence that legislation governing wildlife use and protection is speciesist and ‘plant blind’. Through a content analysis of 185 countries’ wildlife trade legislation, we find that not all legislation includes plants and that in some legislation different species of plants are regarded differently. This means that there are gaps in the framework of legal protection for some plants, which can have real-world consequences. For instance, lack of protection can lead to reduced conservation for exploited plants, which in turn can increase the loss of biodiversity and further threaten ecosystem health and planetary well-being. Legislative and societal plant blindness needs to be challenged and overturned to help stop the biodiversity crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-26
Number of pages13
JournalErasmus Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2023

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