Workshop on Wildlife Crime: An Interdisciplinary Perspective


Dates: July 1-2, 2014

Location: at the office of the University of Southern California, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 540, Washington, DC 20004.


Workshop Schedule


Organizers:

Milind Tambe,
University of Southern California (Chair)

Meredith Gore,
Michigan State University

Andrew Lemieux,
NSCR, The Netherlands

Christopher Kiekintveld,
University of Texas at El Paso

Mahendra Shrestha,
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Thanh H. Nguyen,
University of Southern California

Sponsored by the Army Research Office

Abstract:

This workshop is motivated by global concerns of wildlife crime, including poaching, wildlife trafficking and associated environmental crime in countries around the world; these international problems are leading to the extinction of species and the destruction of ecosystems. The goal of this workshop is to bring together leading researchers from computational and social sciences, conservation biology as well as criminologists, who are focused on wildlife crime, as well as practitioners and other interested researchers. We expect such an interdisciplinary gathering to improve our understanding of wildlife crime, as well as provide shed light on key challenges and interdisciplinary research opportunities in this area, with the ultimate aim of improving wildlife security. The workshop will be held in Washington DC, July 1-2, 2014, at the Washington DC office of the University of Southern California.
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Motivation & Goals

Combating wildlife crime is a critical environmental issue that demands a swift and intelligent response. Tigers, along with many other endangered species, are in danger of extinction from poaching. The global population of tigers has dropped over 95% from the start of the 1900s. Over the course of 2011, South African rhino poaching reached a rate of approximately one death every 20 hours, and that rate increased in 2012. Species extinction can destroy ecosystems and weaken the communities and economies that depend on those ecosystems. Indeed, wildlife crime, including poaching, wildlife trafficking and associated environmental crime is an international challenge, threatening countries around the world. Understanding this challenge and providing potential solutions to help wildlife crime enforcement, requires an interdisciplinary perspective.
To take steps towards addressing this challenge, we propose to hold a cross-disciplinary workshop at the Washington DC offices of the University of Southern California on July 1-2, 2014 concentrating on an interdisciplinary perspective on wildlife crime. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together leading researchers from both computational and social sciences with expertise in domains relevant to wildlife crime, as well as conservation biologists and criminologists focused on wildlife crime. The workshop will also bring together key practitioners. Indeed, to that end, we have already sent out a number of invitations and received enthusiastic response from researchers in computational and social sciences, as well as criminologists. Our goal will be to encourage the development of synergistic theory and methods that go beyond what individual disciplines currently apply.

In this regard, the workshop will focus on a range of questions including but not limited to:

1. What are three of the top barriers facing effective resolution of wildlife crime? What do we anticipate the top 3 barriers being 5 years from now?
2. Is there a geographic region of the world that would benefit most from and be receptive to interdisciplinary approaches for resolving wildlife crime?
3. How can the academy play a more substantial role in helping to resolve wildlife crimes?
4. How can open-source software streamline data management and analysis in protected areas?
5. How important is the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP) to spatial analysis of wildlife crime incidents and simulations of agent behavior? Do higher resolution models produce better predictions? Can high resolution data collection be done more efficiently with remote sensors?
6. What is the interdisciplinary language of wildlife crime? Can common terminology be agreed upon to facilitate a more uniform approach to the scientific study of this phenomenon?
7. What computational techniques are useful for modeling and analysis of wildlife crime? What role does agent-based modeling and computational and behavioral game theory play in this context?
8. What are some research challenges in constructing such computational models? How do we validate these computational models?

Format

The 2-day workshop will be held July 1-2, in Washington DC, at the Washington DC offices of the University of Southern California (USC). Staff support will be provided by USC. There will be 20 participants including the organizing committee that will be supported by the proposal; in addition, we anticipate researchers from the Army Research Labs and the Navy Research Labs, bringing up the total to about 25-30. We wish to limit the workshop size to allow for an informal exchange of ideas and keep the workshop to a limited time.


Several key researchers from academia/federal government agencies have agreed to participate in the workshop.

1. Crawford Allan, TRAFFIC North America
2. Bo An, Nanyang Technology University
3. Liz Bennett, Wildlife Conservation Society
4. William Casebeer, U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
5. Peter Clyne, Wildlife Conservation Society
6. Judith Deane, Senior Policy Fellow, Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, George Mason University
7. Benjamin Ford, University of Southern California
8. Carla Gomes, Cornell University
9. Meredith Gore, Michigan State University
10. Jessica Graham, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Dept of State
1 11. Sitthichai Jinamoy, Wildlife Conservation Society
12. Marshall Jones, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
13. Chris Kiekintveld, University of Texas at El Paso
14. Andrey Kushlin, Global Tiger Initiative, World Bank
15. Leonid Lantsman, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Dept of State
16. Stephen Lee, U.S Army Research Office
17. Andrew Lemieux, Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement
18. Susan Lieberman, Wildlife Conservation Society
19. Barney Long, World Wildlife Fund-US
20. William Magrath, Lead Natural Resource Economist, World Bank
21. William Moreto, University of Central California
22. Thanh Nguyen, University of Southern California
23. Anak Pattanavibool, Kasetsart University and Wildlife Conservation Society
24. Rob Pickles, Panthera
25. Gary Roloff, Michigan State University
26. Bart Selman, Cornell University
27. Mahendra Shrestha, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
28. Nicole Sintov, University of Southern California
29. Tom Snitch, University of Maryland
30. V. S. Subrahmanian, University of Maryland
31. Milind Tambe, University of Southern California
32. Julie Viollaz, CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
33. Rand Waltzman, U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
34. Fred Bagley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
35. Cory Brown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Contacts

1. USC contact on site: Felicia Pratt (fpratt@usc.edu)
2. USC contact for technical matters: Thanh Nguyen (thanhhng@usc.edu)