Accounting for Unintended Consequences of Resource Policy: Connecting Research that Addresses Displacement of Environmental Impacts

Rebecca L. Lewison, Andrew F. Johnson, Jianbang Gan, Robin Pelc, Katie Westfall, Mark Helvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural resource policies enacted to protect environmental integrity play an important role in promoting sustainability. However, when resources are shared ecologically, economically, or through a common, global interest, policies implemented to protect resource sustainability in one domain can displace, and in some cases magnify, environmental degradation to other domains. Although such displacement has been recognized as a fundamental challenge to environmental and conservation policy within some resource sectors, there has been little cross‐disciplinary and cross‐sectoral integration to address the problem. This suggests that siloed knowledge may be impeding widespread recognition of the ubiquity of displacement and the need for mitigation. Here, we connect research across multiple disciplines to promote a broader discussion and recognition of the processes and pathways that can lead to displaced impacts that countermand or undermine resource policy and outline a number of approaches that can mitigate displacement.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalConservation Letters
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • backfire
  • environmental load displacement
  • leakage
  • rebound
  • slippage
  • spillover
  • sustainability
  • transfer effects
  • unequal ecological exchange

Cite this