Natural Resource Use
Human society is used to putting a price tag on natural resources—on timber, oil, animal pelts, and ivory. But as the demand outpaces the supply, a new challenge has arisen: Finding an economic value for slowing down our consumption of nature’s bounty and treading more gently on our planet. To balance the needs of people and wildlife, WCS is working with industries involved in natural resource extraction, to help them manage their concessions more sustainably. WCS also assists local communities whose livelihoods depend on hunting, fishing, and the extraction of other natural resources in finding new economic opportunities that promote both human wellbeing and animal conservation. Finally, we are working on-the-ground with law enforcement agencies to stem the harmful wildlife trade.
WCS and the Capitanía de Alto y Bajo Isoso, the indigenous organization representing the Guaraní people of Bolivia’s Chaco, have worked as partners for more than 15 years. The partnership has helped both institutions deal with challenges arising from the rapid expansion of Bolivia’s hydrocarbon industry into this fragile landscape.
To help Cameroon stem the dangerous trade in bushmeat from forests to lucrative urban markets, WCS partners with the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the CAMRAIL national train network—in the past, a common means of transporting large volumes of wildlife.
Shark fisheries have expanded in size and number around the world since the mid-1980s to meet the rapidly rising demand for shark fins, meat, and cartilage. Most of these fisheries are unregulated and undocumented. As a result, numerous shark species now face extinction. WCS is working to improve regulation of the global trade in shark products to reverse the decline of these remarkable fishes.