Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2024 Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award - First Place.

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Year of Award

2024 Award

Document Type

Open Access Paper


When investigating the trafficking of wild species, animals are often considered before plants (Phelps et al. 2015). This is especially detrimental to members of the orchidaceae family, which are victims of an extensive illegal trade. It spans the entire globe but is especially concentrated in Southeastern Asia (Phelps et al. 2015). When regarding legislation, however, orchidaceae species are some of the most protected in the world. International legislation such as CITES restricts the movement of endangered orchidaceae across borders (Hinsley 2018). The 1992 Convention on Biodiversity (Lawson et al. 2019) also has policies regarding international orchid trade. National laws regulate trade as well, with the United States (Hinsley 2018), India (Hinsley 2018), and Mexico (Flores-Palacios et al. 2007) all regulating orchidaceae movement across borders. Despite these restrictions, illegal trade persists in high numbers (Flores-Palacios et al. 2007; Hinsely 2018). To combat this black market for orchids, many experts recommend market monitoring, increasing legal trade, and increasing research on orchids (Liu et al. 2020; Flores-Palacios et al. 2007; Hinsley 2018). This research paper aims to identify why species in the Orchidaceae family are so heavily trafficked, how their trade is regulated, and how effective those regulations are. In addition, it will explore alternatives to our current conservation efforts and propose solutions to the vast illegal trade Orchidaceae are facing.

Publication Date


Award Sponsored by

Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Faculty Advisor

Mark Myers


Department of Biology


Project Components:

  • Paper - Download Button
  • Slideshow - Additional content
  • Handout - Additional content

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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