• Center for Problem oriented policing

Taxonomy of Wilderness Problems

Threat category*Problem
1 Agriculture and aquaculture 

Annual and perennial (non)timber crops

  • Planting of crops for food, fiber, fuel or other uses  

Livestock farming and ranching 

  • Cattle grazing / ranching in protected areas 
2 Energy production and mining 

Mining and quarrying 

  • Mining for precious minerals, sand, limestone, rocks, mud and other as well as exploration and development for the same 
3 Biological resource use 

Hunting and collecting terrestrial animals** 

  • Honey collection
  • Insect collection
  • Poaching for meat, bones, skin, fur (sustenance)
  • Poaching for meat, bones, skin, fur (cultural)
  • Poaching for trophy (commercial)
  • Poaching for trophy (cultural)
  • Poaching for pet trade (live animals)
  • Poaching for pet trade (eggs)
  • Poaching for breeding programs (live animals)
  • Poaching as retaliation for human-wildlife conflict
  • Poaching for traditional medicine/witchcraft
  • Poaching for animal testing
  • Poaching for excitement or thrills, aka thrill killing
  • Poaching for zoo collections or wildlife tourism
  • Sentinel poaching 

Gathering terrestrial plants

  • Bark collection
  • Cotton collection
  • Flora poaching (e.g. orchids, cacti)
  • Fungi collection
  • Medicinal plant collection
  • Thatch collection 

Logging and wood harvesting

  • Charcoal burning
  • Commercial timber extraction
  • Firewood collection
  • Pole harvesting
  • Pit sawing
  • Scented wood collection

Fishing and harvesting aquatic resources

  • Coral collection
  • Fishing for protected species
  • Fishing in unauthorized area (out of season, without correct permit)
  • Fishing with outlawed equipment (i.e. nets with small holes, poison, electrical, nets, fish traps, spears)
  • Dam fishing
  • Destructive fishing practices (i.e. dynamite/grenades)
  • Overfishing quota
4 Human intrusions and disturbance 

Recreational activities

  • Off-tracking

War, civil unrest and military exercises

  • Mine fields
  • Occupation
  • Troop and material transport

Work and other activities

  • Destruction, moving or damaging of border markers
  • Encroachment***
  • Speeding (road kill)
  • Trespassing 
5 Human-wildlife conflict 
  • Crop raiding (i.e. corn, rice, cassava)
  • Disease transmission
  • Retaliatory and fear killings
  • Human mortalities (i.e. caused by elephants, tigers, crocodiles)
  • Livestock predation
  • Problem animals (i.e. buffalo, baboon, elephant) 
6 Natural system modifications 

Fire and fire suppression

  • Arson for e.g. vegetation clearing
  • Campfires
  • Fire suppression to protect e.g. homes
Dams and water management/use
  • Dam building
  • Wetland filling (e.g. mosquito control)

Other ecosystem modifications

  • Vegetation clearing 
7 Invasive and other problematic species and genes 
  • Introduction of invasive species
  • Introduction of unwanted native species or individuals
8 Pollution 
  • Household, commercial or industrial waste disposal
  • Littering 
9 Other
  • Attacks on enforcement or other protected area personnel
  • Burglary from lodges
  • Corruption – misuse/embezzlement of PA funds, bribery, taxation, protected area staff selling hunting rights, etc.
  • Drug cultivation and manufacturing
  • Emergency rescue of tourists
  • Human rights infringements (e.g. slave labor)
  • Illegal sale of protected area lands
  • Robbery of tourists, unsanctioned taxes or road tolls
  • Theft of protected area equipment (camera traps, vehicles, signage etc)
  • Trafficking (humans, arms, narcotics, other)
  • Vandalism

 * Threat categorizations partly drawn from Salafsky, N., Salzer, D., Stattersfield, A.J., Hilton-Taylor, C., Neugarten, R., Butchart, S.H.M., Collen, B., Cox, N., Master, L.L., O'Connor, S. & Wilkie, D. (2007). "A standard lexicon for biodiversity conservation: unified classifications of threats and actions." Conservation Biology, 22(4), 897-911. DOI:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00937.x

** Each type of poaching can be committed using a variety of techniques for killing, detection and transportation Active poaching (finding and killing animal): professional gun, homemade gun, bow and arrow (poisoned arrows), dogs with spear, dogs with net, tranquilizer dart, spotlighting, vehicle (intentional roadkill), aerial (shooting from plane/helicopter), drones (used to scout), hunting platforms (illegally constructed) Passive poaching (laying traps for animal): snaring (different types of material for different animals), gin traps, pit traps, hanging spear trap, poison (i.e. water or food source), mist nets (for birds)

*** Encroachment is the act of (gradually) infringing on protected area land to claim this for oneself for various reasons (perceived right, agricultural expansion, etc.)