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Article

The Harms and Crimes of Logging and Deforestation  

José Luis Carpio-Domínguez

Among the socioenvironmental problems that have been determinant in the causes of climate change, deforestation represents one of the main ones. The environmental harms caused by deforestation include the extinction of flora and fauna species, the loss of soil fertility, and limits on regional sustainability, affecting efforts to mitigate climate change. The social harms include the reduction of communities’ capacities for development and the loss of ecosystem services such as water and soil fertility for subsistence, and phenomena such as illegal logging, when configured as organized crime, threaten the security of local communities. Despite government efforts to regulate this practice at local, regional, and global levels, it is still present in an illegal or uncontrolled manner in many countries. Deforestation is linked to soft law enforcement, the economic precariousness of the places where deforestation takes place (as a subsistence or illegal activity), and highly profitable illegal markets, therefore requiring a multifactorial response. Improving forest law enforcement and environmental conservation also requires strong political commitment across governments, as well as institutional, social (including native and Indigenous communities), economic, and environmental sector collaboration, promoting horizontal governance at all levels.

Article

Offenders of Environmental Crimes  

Rita Faria

Criminology was born from the political and scientific project of producing evidence-based knowledge about a particular kind of subject: the criminal. This evasive topic of inquiry has driven orthodox and positivistic criminology to look for risk factors, situational clues, criminal scripts, opportunities for crime, and so on. But critiques of such approach have noted how the framework of criminal action and motivation—that is: crime—ought to be analyzed from a social constructionist perspective rather than by mere reified, legal notions. In green criminology scholarship, environmental harms and crimes have been critically debated, and it is fairly accepted that, while necessary, legalistic approaches to environmental offenses would not suffice due to their ethnocentric perspective of life, social order, and justice. However, in green criminology, evidence-based and critical debates about the environmental offender are somehow lagging. There has been a growth of research devoted to understanding environmental offending and ways to react to it, and more data about offenders is being collected, with authors now in a better position to inform about the features of those who commit environmental offenses and harms. However, a closer look at the bulk of literature reveals that green criminology has been looking at a hard-to-grasp reality, composed of a multitude of actors (and respective actions) that include individual offenders, as well as criminal networks, and legitimate organizations such as corporations and states—all of which should be envisioned as complex systems that interact with particular surroundings and contexts, moved by specific values and (sub)cultural norms. Trying to convey this multitude into one article is not an easy job and, overall, the complexity of environmental offenses reveals the multifaceted nature of offenders and the multilayered causes and motives of behaviors that harm the environment or break those laws and regulations dedicated to protecting nonhuman species, habitats, or the environment as a whole.