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Wildlife: a forgotten and threatened resource


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The harvest of forest wildlife provides invaluable benefits to local people, but understanding of such practices remains fragmentary. With global attention drawn to the issue of declining biodiversity, this talk assesses the consequences, both for ecosystems and local livelihoods, of the loss of important forest resources, and alternative management options.

This presentation was given by Robert Nasi of CIFOR at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation.

Published in: Environment
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Wildlife: a forgotten and threatened resource

  1. 1. Wildlife: a forgotten and threatened forest resource Robert NASI, Nathalie van VLIET, John E. FA 20 June 2016, Le Corum, Montpellier
  2. 2. Importance of wildlife  Ecological • Keystone species • Ecological services  Economical • Local livelihoods, food security • Income generation  Cultural • Social bonding, redistribution • Traditional ceremonies, • Taboos
  3. 3. Ecological aspects  Extinction or extirpation of hunted species  Food chain feed–back and Allee effects  Potential pest outbreaks  Changes in pollination patterns  Changes in seed predation / dispersion patterns  Modification of vegetation dynamics and biomass fluxes
  4. 4.  Potential food crisis; malnutrition  Deforestation or forest degradation for alternative sources of protein  Unsustainable harvesting of other wild resources (e.g. fish)  Public health issues  Loss of income, increased poverty  Loss of cultural identity Socio-economic aspects
  5. 5. Gender dimension • Plays a disproportionately important role in the livelihoods and well-being of women (and children) • Women derive crucial income from the sales of wild products • Women invest back their income into household food and wellbeing; men more into non essential goods
  6. 6. Public health Emerging diseases  70% of human diseases are zoonoses  SRAS, Marburg, Lassa, Nypah  Ebola Nutrition  Wild food (greens, meat, fish) rich in essential micro-nutrients  Availability of wild meat or fish from diet linked to anemia and stunting rates in rural populations
  7. 7. Areas with more bushmeat extraction, more food insecurity are also the areas most likely to be affected by Ebola in central Africa. Public health links Areas of high bushmeat extraction/impact Stunting is higher in children From: Fa et al. (2015)
  8. 8. The Bushmeat case
  9. 9. Taxonomic composition of terrestrial vertebrates hunted for bushmeat in tropical and sub-tropical habitats in different world regions. Full list of species in Redmond et al. (2006). Recipes for Survival. Ape Alliance/WSPA. Hunting and eating meat of wild animals is a widespread essential and socially acceptable … but de facto a criminal activity in most of the countries Bushmeat
  10. 10. The “Bushmeat Crisis”  Empirical evidence • Historical: hunting-related extinctions (passenger pigeon, American buffalo…) • Today: local extirpation because of hunting (for food or trade in wildlife parts)  Is “doomsday” coming? • Not sure but there is a clear and urgent sustainability problem  Biodiversity but also livelihoods of local people are at stake
  11. 11. “Realistically, if changes in attitude do not occur soon…a fitting epithet for the loss of [Sulawesi] endemic mammals and birds may be 'they tasted good” (O'Brien & Kinnaird)
  12. 12. You have to have at least one square meal a day to be an environmentalist (Borlaug)
  13. 13. 2 billion 15 million 5 million tonnes/year of bushmeat in the Congo Basin is equivalent to:  5 million tonnes of bushmeat extracted annually in the Congo Basin,  2 million tonnes in the Amazon Basin  Europe produces 7,5 million tonnes of beef per year  Brazil produces 8,5 million tonnes of beef per year The scale of the issue
  14. 14. REPUBLIC OF CONGO GABON CAMEROON 42.3 (108) 30.9 (85) 9.8 (122) In Central Africa, financial profits and gross economic benefits from the bushmeat sector (Million €/yr) is high. Numbers in brackets = Gross economic benefit (incl. self-consumption) From: Lescuyer et al. (2012)
  15. 15. 5% 6% 2% 10% 11% 15% 5% 11% 20%/25% From: Van Vliet et al. (2012) Bushmeat is regularly eaten Example: rural and urban children in Kisangani, DRC, report higher consumption of bushmeat than any other meat. Rural/Urban
  16. 16.  Economically significant and socially acceptable  Largely non substitutable  Gender differentiated  Regulated but not controlled  Poor’s people businesses BUT  Unsustainable  Resource base is degraded or capital depleted  State has no revenues  Corruption reigns  LOSE-LOSE situation, everyone lose! What is so special about bushmeat?
  17. 17. Barriers to management  Knowledge of most of the hunted species is, at best, minimal  Stocks are very difficulty to monitor  Tenure and access rights often unclear or disputed  Remains a minor “policy” issue
  18. 18. Repression only won’t work! “Laissez-faire” won’t work either! Is there a way forward?
  19. 19. Tackling the protein gap and the biodiversity loss  Solutions can only be combinations of various actions at different points of the value chain and of the enabling environment  Actions need to be combined at various levels around three main elements: – Reducing the demand for bushmeat – Making the off-take, supply more sustainable with proper management of the resource – Creating an conducive and enabling institutional and policy environment
  20. 20. Acknowledge contribution to food security and health in national strategies Include in national statistics as a vital national economic activity Legitimize the debate around bushmeat Manage hunting for resilient species Analyze both the livelihood and conservation implications of a given intervention on all stakeholders (including gender) Review national legislation for coherence, practicality and to reflect actual practices (without surrendering key conservation concerns) A new menu Develop ways to “formalize” parts of the value chain
  21. 21. Improving sustainability of supply  Hunter, rural consumers – Negotiate hunting rules allowing harvesting resilient species and banning vulnerable ones – Define self-monitored quotas and co-construct simple self-monitoring tools  Research and extension services – Develop and disseminate simple monitoring methods – Understanding the “empty forest” syndrome: • Role of source-sink effects in hunting areas; Competition and substitutions effects on forest composition and structure – Analyze relationships and trade-off between bushmeat and other protein sources • Bushmeat and freshwater fish consumption; domestic meat (livestock, poultry…) footprints • Is there a nutritional transition? Where? Into which alternative protein source?
  22. 22. Improving sustainability of supply  Extractive industries – Enforce codes of conducts and include wildlife concerns in companies’ standard operating procedures – Forbid transportation on company’s cars or trucks – Establish manned checkpoints (with trained personnel) on main roads – Provide alternative sources of protein at cost – Organize, support community hunting schemes – Adopt and implement certification
  23. 23. Reducing demand  Hunters, rural consumers – Develop alternative sources of protein at a cost similar to bushmeat – Improve economic opportunities in productive sectors – Use local media (e.g. radio) to deliver environmental education and raise awareness
  24. 24. Reducing demand  Retailers, urban consumers – Strictly enforcing ban of protected/endangered species sales and consumption – Confiscating and publicly incinerating carcasses – Taxing sales of authorized species – Targeted campaigns  International consumers – Instituting very heavy fines for possession or trade of bushmeat (whatever the status or provenance of the species) – Raising awareness of the issue in airports or seaports – Engaging and making accountable airline or shipping companies
  25. 25. “Enabling” environment  National policy makers and agencies (range states) – Enhancing ownership, linked to tenurial and rights reform – Legitimize the bushmeat debate – Make an economic assessment of the sector and include in national statistics – Acknowledge contribution of bushmeat to food security in national strategies – Develop a framework to “formalize” parts of the trade – Review national legislation for coherence, practicality and to reflect actual practices (without surrendering key conservation concerns) – Include bushmeat/wildlife modules in curricula
  26. 26. “Enabling” environment  International policies – Strict enforcement of CITES – Ensure wildlife issues are covered within internationally-supported policy processes – Link international trade with increased emerging disease risks – Impose tough fines and shame irresponsible behavior  Local institutions – Negotiate full support of communities that have a vested interest in protecting the resource – Increase capacity to setup and manage sustainable bushmeat markets – Develop local participatory monitoring tools
  27. 27. CIFOR argues that since up to 80 percent of the rural households in central and western Africa already depend on bushmeat for their daily protein requirements, a blanket ban on the trade would endanger both humans and wildlife Critics say:  "They call for regulated but legal uptake of wildlife protein. Maybe, but just how can this be done? There are no mechanisms to regulate this even with the best legislation."  that CIFOR and CDB's idea of legalizing the bushmeat trade "shows remarkable naïveté and totally fails to understand the realities on the ground. A hungry population is never going to practice conservation of food, especially where it can be had free from the forest."  "Why don't people encourage the rearing of chickens, fish or cane rats to alleviate their protein deficiency? This will bring development and a better and healthier existence." the Good, the Bad and the Ugly…
  28. 28. If you want to know more Relevant sessions in ATBC 2016 Defaunation: a local process with global implications Monday 20, 11am, Pasteur (Level 0 & 1) Subsistence hunting in the tropics: A coupled human natural system perspective Thursday 23, 10:30am, Antigone 3 (Level 2) Consumptive uses of wildlife in sub saharan africa: the janus bifrons syndrome Thursday 23, 8am, Einstein (Level 0) Bushmeat Research Initiative
  29. 29. Pictures, infographics: CIFOR, Robert Nasi, Nathalie van Vliet, John E. Fa David Wilkie, Liz Bennett, and Charles Doumenge