Geographic profiling to assess the risk of rare plant poaching in natural areas

Environmental Management
By: , and 



We demonstrate the use of an expert-assisted spatial model to examine geographic factors influencing the poaching risk of a rare plant (American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius L.) in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA. Following principles of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), we identified a hierarchy of 11 geographic factors deemed important to poaching risk and requested law enforcement personnel of the National Park Service to rank those factors in a series of pair-wise comparisons. We used those comparisons to determine statistical weightings of each factor and combined them into a spatial model predicting poaching risk. We tested the model using 69 locations of previous poaching incidents recorded by law enforcement personnel. These locations occurred more frequently in areas predicted by the model to have a higher risk of poaching than random locations. The results of our study can be used to evaluate resource protection strategies and to target law enforcement activities.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Geographic profiling to assess the risk of rare plant poaching in natural areas
Series title Environmental Management
DOI 10.1007/s00267-011-9687-3
Volume 48
Issue 3
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 577
Last page 587
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details