ALIENTRADE .: Impactos do comércio global de animais no estabelecimento de espécies invasoras

Cofinanciado por:
Project title | ALIENTRADE .: Impactos do comércio global de animais no estabelecimento de espécies invasoras
Project Code | POCI-01-0145-FEDER-030931
Main objective | Reforçar a Investigação, o desenvolvimento tecnológico e a inovação

Region of intervention | Alentejo

Beneficiary entity |
  • ICETA - Instituto de Ciências e Tecnologias Agrárias e Agroalimentares(líder)
  • Universidade de Évora(parceiro)

Approval date | 18-07-2018
Start date | 19-10-2018
Date of the conclusion | 18-10-2021

Total eligible cost | 239987 €
European Union financial support | FEDER - 173554 €
National/regional public financial support | República Portuguesa - 66433 €

Objectives, activities and expected/achieved results



Drawing on the strengths of its diverse team of researchers, ALIENTRADE will investigate the role of global wild-pet trade (GWT) as a driver of biological invasions, explicitly considering the complex socioeconomic and environmental contexts and evaluating the associated risks and impacts. After an initial characterization of existing patterns and dynamics, alternative future political, socioeconomic and environmental scenarios, will be modeled, taking into account past and current cultural motivations of the trade itself. Using a wide range of quantitative and qualitative modeling methods, special emphasis will be placed on quantifying non-compliance with trade regulations, thus contributing more realistic estimates in the cost-benefit analyses of the bioeconomic impacts of GWT. The embedded crossdisciplinary and participatory approach of ALIENTRADE means that quantifying these risks and their impact on the vulnerability of native species and habitats will also produce a comprehensive recommendation framework, supporting more sustainable wildlife trade policies and implementations.

The goals of ALIENTRADE are thus to:

1. Characterize the global fluxes of wildlife trade, by identifying trade patterns and dynamics of all terrestrial
2. Review the main political, socioeconomic and environmental drivers of current GWT, in order to explore a range of future social-ecological scenarios GWT;
3. Investigate human motivations underlying past and current demand of wild-caught-pet animals, emphasizing situations of non-compliance with trade regulations;
4. Evaluate the bioeconomic impacts of GWT, grounded on the cost-benefit consequences of climate change and established trade regulations (such as trade bans);
5. Estimate the vulnerability of native species against putative effects of traded alien animals, considering the evolutionary, phylogenetic and phylogeographic contexts;
6. Devise a synthesis framework to support policy recommendations and management actions targeting trade sustainability.




ALIENTRADE will tackle each of these goals, in 6 matching but interrelated tasks, each led by specific multidisciplinaryteams. This allows a more explicit and methodologically appropriate consideration of the diverse contexts (ecological, socioeconomic and political) and scales (spatio-temporal) of GWT in an integrated way.

T1, will evaluate the patterns and dynamics of wild-caught species of the GWT across different scales (e.g.biogeographical or political units). GWT flows will be quantified for all listed terrestrial vertebrates, with ecologicalniche and network modeling methods, using a range of spatial wildlife and trade data (CITES, [21]). This will result inidentifying the main global patterns and pathways transporting wildlife to consumers.T2, will review current geo-political (national and global), socioeconomic (Domestic Product, Human DevelopmentIndex) and environmental drivers (habitat loss, climate change) related to GWT. The drivers (and their interactions)will be modeled and used to construct potential scenarios of future GWT. Potential implications of current politicaldynamics (re-emergence of economic nationalism due to Brexit?s deglobalization of world trade; neo-mercantilisttrade policies proposed by the US Administration) on GWT, will be of particular interest.T3, will investigate human motivations underlying past and current global demand of wild-caught-pets, by applying novel methods from the social sciences grounded on participatory approaches and inquiries. Special focus will be given to identifying attitudes of non-compliance with existing regulations (i.e. rule breaking behaviors). Relating these more culturally appropriate findings with the drivers identified in T2, will help understand decisions taken by traders
and buyers and produce more implementable regulations (T6). T4, will quantify the bioeconomic consequences of the projected impact associated with the increased risk that the alien traded species (T1), under previously identified scenarios (T2) and human motivations (T3), will become invasive (by successful establishment and spread). Such effects will be analyzed by comparing the projected changes resulting from specific trade agreements and geo-ecological units. To do so, cost-benefit analyses of trade impacts under multiple alternative conditions will be conducted to better identify optimum solutions that generate net benefits to a wider range of stakeholders across the scales considered. T5, will estimate the vulnerability of native species under events of potential establishment and spread of alien invasive species (AIS) from GWT. Using community ecology theory and network modeling techniques, we will measure their resilience before and after invasion events. We will also evaluate the impacts of potential invasions considering niche overlap, biotic interactions (i.e. competition), and phylogenetic distance analyses. The ensemble of results and extensive literature reviews will be tabulated into a list of potentially most harmful AIS (T6). Finally, T6 will integrate all knowledge gained from the different tasks into a comprehensive policy framework that will consider the views of several stakeholders. We will produce a guideline document with comprehensive management recommendations for achieving a more sustainable wildlife trade. This task will also provide direct support to Reg. EU 1143/2014.


ALIENTRADE's pioneering and interdisciplinary research framework, addresses the full ecological, political and socioeconomic contexts of GWT. Scientifically, the project will derive novel integrated insights from ecology, sociology, economics, and political sciences. At the core, state of the art eco-informatics methods will be used to understand patterns, impacts, and drivers of GWT, and model their relationship with invasion success (T1, T5). Social scientists will bring in their expertise to address the explicit link among past, current and future dynamics of humans in the GWT, contribute in parameterizing socioeconomic scenarios (T2) and human motivations (T3). Drawing on Economic theory, cost-benefit analyses will contribute to identifying bioeconomic solutions palatable to both importers and exporters (T2, T4). Lastly, participatory approaches and political sciences (T6) play a determinant role in summarizing the project's findings, balancing management priorities across ecological, social, and economic perspectives. By addressing economic competition, social fairness and equity ALIENTRADE hopes to be a valuable tool for policy-makers and managers. ALIENTRADE also provides concrete outcomes and guidance for implementing EU legislation on AIS
(Reg. EU 1143/2014).


The researchers proposing ALIENTRADE are not interested in banning wildlife trade outright, but rather are passionate about ensuring its sustainability. This requires more collaborative approaches to better address the full sociopolitical and ecological contexts. Using a highly participatory approach, developed in close collaboration with key stakeholders (ie researchers, commercial entities, policy-makers) ensures that ALIENTRADE findings are translated into feasible solutions. Thus, practical recommendations will be optimized for the specific geo-political context, cultural understandings and ecosystem needs. ALIENTRADE will produce a thorough outreach and dissemination plan, guiding and informing researchers and participants alike, for appropriate disclosure of key results. Building reciprocal trust and sustainable participation at all levels, especially on sensitive issues as non-compliance, ensures the continuity of ALIENTRADE beyond its proposed resources