Poaching has been defined as the illegal hunting or capturing of wild animals, usually associated with land use rights.
Poaching was once performed by impoverished peasants for subsistence purposes and to supplement meager diets. It was set against the hunting privileges of nobility and territorial rulers.
Since the 1980s, the term "poaching" has also been used to refer to the illegal harvesting of wild plant species. In agricultural terms, the term 'poaching' is also applied to the loss of soils or grass by the damaging action of feet of livestock, which can affect availability of productive land, water pollution through increased runoff and welfare issues for cattle. Stealing livestock as in cattle raiding classifies as theft, not as poaching.
The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 15 enshrines the sustainable use of all wildlife. It targets the taking of action on dealing with poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna to ensure their availability for present and future generations.
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^Muth, R. M.; Bowe, Jr. (1998). "Illegal harvest of renewable natural resources in North America: Toward a typology of the motivations for poaching". Society & Natural Resources. 11 (1): 9–24. doi:10.1080/08941929809381058.