Declining Use of Wild Resources by Indigenous Peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon

Gray, Clark L.; Bozigar, Matthew; & Bilsborrow, Richard E. (2015). Declining Use of Wild Resources by Indigenous Peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Biological Conservation, 182, 270-7. PMCID: PMC4302340

Gray, Clark L.; Bozigar, Matthew; & Bilsborrow, Richard E. (2015). Declining Use of Wild Resources by Indigenous Peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Biological Conservation, 182, 270-7. PMCID: PMC4302340

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Wild product harvesting by forest-dwelling peoples, including hunting, fishing, forest product collection and timber harvesting, is believed to be a major threat to the biodiversity of tropical forests worldwide. Despite this threat, few studies have attempted to quantify these activities across time or across large spatial scales. We use a unique longitudinal household survey (n = 480) to describe changes in these activities over time in 32 indigenous communities from five ethnicities in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon. To provide insight into the drivers of these changes, we also estimate multilevel statistical models of these activities as a function of household and community characteristics. These analyses reveal that participation in hunting, fishing, and forest product collection is high but declining across time and across ethnicities, with no evidence for a parallel decline in resource quality. However, participation in timber harvesting did not significantly decline and there is evidence of a decline in resource quality. Multilevel statistical models additionally reveal that household and community characteristics such as ethnicity, demographic characteristics, wealth, livelihood diversification, access to forest, participation in conservation programs and exposure to external markets are significant predictors of wild product harvesting. These characteristics have changed over time but cannot account for declining participation in resource harvesting. This finding suggests that participation is declining due to changes in the regional-scale social and economic context, including urbanization and the expansion of government infrastructure and services. The lesson for conservationists is that macro-scale social and economic conditions can drive reductions in wild product harvesting even in the absence of successful conservation interventions.


Population and Environment
1A
2a


JOUR



Gray, Clark L.
Bozigar, Matthew
Bilsborrow, Richard E.



2015


Biological Conservation

182


270-7








PMC4302340


8824

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