Record Details

Espinosa, Santiago;Branch, Lyn C.;Cueva, Rubén
Road Development and the Geography of Hunting by an Amazonian Indigenous Group: Consequences for Wildlife Conservation.
PLoS one
Journal Article
Protected areas are essential for conservation of wildlife populations. However, in the tropics there are two important factors that may interact to threaten this objective: 1) road development associated with large-scale resource extraction near or within protected areas; and 2) historical occupancy by traditional or indigenous groups that depend on wildlife for their survival. To manage wildlife populations in the tropics, it is critical to understand the effects of roads on the spatial extent of hunting and how wildlife is used. A geographical analysis can help us answer questions such as: How do roads affect spatial extent of hunting? How does market vicinity relate to local consumption and trade of bushmeat? How does vicinity to markets influence choice of game? A geographical analysis also can help evaluate the consequences of increased accessibility in landscapes that function as source-sink systems. We applied spatial analyses to evaluate the effects of increased landscape and market accessibility by road development on spatial extent of harvested areas and wildlife use by indigenous hunters. Our study was conducted in Yasuní Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador, which is impacted by road development for oil extraction, and inhabited by the Waorani indigenous group. Hunting activities were self-reported for 12-14 months and each kill was georeferenced. Presence of roads was associated with a two-fold increase of the extraction area. Rates of bushmeat extraction and trade were higher closer to markets than further away. Hunters located closer to markets concentrated their effort on large-bodied species. Our results clearly demonstrate that placing roads within protected areas can seriously reduce their capacity to sustain wildlife populations and potentially threaten livelihoods of indigenous groups who depend on these resources for their survival. Our results critically inform current policy debates regarding resource extraction and road building near or within protected areas.