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Open AccessCommunication

The Effects of Food Waste on Wildlife and Humans

School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University (Burwood Campus), Geelong, VIC 3125, Australia
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Global Trophic Cascades Program, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hossein Azadi
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1269;
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 19 July 2017
PDF [1999 KB, uploaded 19 July 2017]


A reduction in the loss and waste of human food is a global issue for addressing poverty and hunger in poorer nations, and for reducing the environmental footprint of the agriculture sector. An emerging issue, however, is that food wasted by humans is often accessible to wildlife, affecting wildlife ecology and behaviour, as well as ecological processes and community dynamics. Here we highlight the extent of such impacts, drawing on examples from mammalian predators and other taxonomic groups. We then develop two conceptual models. The first shows how wildlife access to food waste can exacerbate human-wildlife conflicts. The second highlights that when food waste is removed, the effects on wildlife and ecosystem processes should be monitored. The conceptual models are important when considering that large quantities of food waste are intentionally and unintentionally provided to wildlife around the world. We conclude there is an urgent need to change the way people currently manage the food we produce. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation; food waste; human-wildlife conflict; predator conservation; food waste; human-wildlife conflict; predator

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Newsome, T.M.; Van Eeden, L.M. The Effects of Food Waste on Wildlife and Humans. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1269.

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