International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics > Vol 17 > Issue 2-3

Follow the Meat: The Economics of Small-Scale Wild Meat Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Jennifer R. Rushlow, Department of Economics, Illinois Wesleyan University, USA, , Heidi J. Albers, Department of Economics, University of Wyoming, USA,
Suggested Citation
Jennifer R. Rushlow and Heidi J. Albers (2023), "Follow the Meat: The Economics of Small-Scale Wild Meat Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries", International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics: Vol. 17: No. 2-3, pp 363-410.

Publication Date: 15 Jun 2023
© 2023 J. R. Rushlow and H. J. Albers
Environmental economics
JEL Codes: Q29Q56Q57Q58
Bushmeathuntingtransportation intermediariesmiddlemenurban marketssupply chainwildlife conservation


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In this article:
1 Introduction 
2 Production of Wild Meat: Hunting 
3 To Market 
4 Urban Markets and Demand 
5 Policy Discussion 
6 Conclusion 


In low- and middle-income countries, wild meat — often called bushmeat — is an important source of food and income, but its production threatens species and biodiversity conservation. The conservation literature uses empirical work to identify drivers, and levels, of wild meat consumption and production, while the economics literature provides insight into various actors' decisions about wild meat harvest, sale, and consumption. We describe these literatures by following the path of wild meat from hunting decisions through intermediaries to markets and consumers, which emphasizes that decisions in any part of the wild meat system ultimately trace back to conservation outcomes. The opportunity cost of land for habitat differentiates wild meat production from fisheries and necessitates a landscape perspective. Heterogeneity within and across settings in terms of demand characteristics, costs, and species attributes complicates the implementation of policies without site-specific information.