Distribution and Use of Income from Bushmeat in a Rural Village, Central Gabon

Authors

  • L. COAD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom
    2. Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, United Kingdom
    3. James Martin 21st Century School, Environmental Change Institute, SoGE, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, United Kingdom
      email lauren.coad@ouce.ox.ac.uk
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  • K. ABERNETHY,

    1. School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland, United Kingdom
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  • A. BALMFORD,

    1. Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom
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  • A. MANICA,

    1. Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom
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  • L. AIREY,

    1. Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom
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  • E. J. MILNER-GULLAND

    1. Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, United Kingdom
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email lauren.coad@ouce.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Abstract: Bushmeat hunting is an activity integral to rural forest communities that provides a high proportion of household incomes and protein requirements. An improved understanding of the relationship between bushmeat hunting and household wealth is vital to assess the potential effects of future policy interventions to regulate an increasingly unsustainable bushmeat trade. We investigated the relationship between hunting offtake and household wealth, gender differences in spending patterns, and the use of hunting incomes in two rural forest communities, Central Gabon, from 2003 to 2005. Households in which members hunted (hunting households) were significantly wealthier than households in which no one hunted (nonhunting households), but within hunting households offtakes were not correlated with household wealth. This suggests there are access barriers to becoming a hunter and that hunting offtakes may not be the main driver of wealth accumulation. Over half of the money spent by men in the village shop was on alcohol and cigarettes, and the amount and proportion of income spent on these items increased substantially with increases in individual hunting offtake. By contrast, the majority of purchases made by women were of food, but their food purchases decreased actually and proportionally with increased household hunting offtake. This suggests that the availability of bushmeat as a food source decreases spending on food, whereas hunting income may be spent in part on items that do not contribute significantly to household food security. Conservation interventions that aim to reduce the commercial bushmeat trade need to account for likely shifts in individual spending that may ensue and the secondary effects on household economies.

Abstract

Resumen: La cacería de carne de monte es una actividad integral en comunidades forestales rurales que proporciona un alto porcentaje de los ingresos y requerimientos de proteína a las familias. Un mejor entendimiento de las relaciones entre la cacería de carne de monte y la riqueza familiar es vital para evaluar los efectos potenciales de futuras intervenciones políticas para regular un comercio de carne de monte cada vez menos sustentable. De 2003 a 2005 investigamos la relación entre la cacería y la riqueza familiar, las diferencias en los patrones de gasto por género y el uso de los ingresos por cacería en dos comunidades forestales rurales en Gabón Central. Las familias con miembros cazadores (familias cazadoras) fueron significativamente más ricas que las familias en las que ningún miembro era cazador (familias no cazadoras), pero las capturas no estaban correlacionadas con la riqueza en las familias cazadoras. Esto sugiere que hay barreras de acceso para ser cazador y que las capturas pueden no ser el principal factor de la acumulación de riqueza. Más de la mitad del dinero gastado por hombres en la tienda de la aldea fue para la compra de alcohol y cigarros, y la cantidad y proporción del ingreso utilizado para estas compras incrementó sustancialmente con incrementos en la captura individual. En contraste, la mayoría de las compras realizadas por mujeres fueron alimentos, pero sus compras disminuyeron proporcionalmente al incremento de captura por cacería en la familia. Esto sugiere que la disponibilidad de carne de monte como una fuente de alimento disminuye el gasto en alimento, mientras que el ingreso por cacería puede ser gastado parcialmente en productos que no contribuyen significativamente a la seguridad alimentaria familiar. Las intervenciones de conservación orientadas a reducir el comercio de carne de monte necesitan considerar los cambios probables en el gasto individual que se pueden generar, así como los efectos secundarios sobre las economías familiares.

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