Resource Use and Ecological Resilience in a Tropical Socio-Ecological System

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
145A (Washington Convention Center )
Humans in all societies depend on some form of ecological service to sustain themselves. In some cases, communities successfully self-organize to govern the resource in a sustainable fashion, and in other cases they do not. Many factors influence whether resource-use patterns will be sustainable, ranging from commercial and economic incentives for harvesting, dietary needs, and cultural incentives to restrict overharvesting. The session presents a series of papers evaluating the role of these factors in wildlife harvesting and management among indigenous villages in the Rupununi of Guyana. The analysis of data from 28 study sites with monthly monitoring of wildlife populations and demographic data on language and religion allow for novel coupling of the resource base to complex cultural changes occurring across the Amazon and other regions. The study communities occupy savannah and forest, varying along a gradient of exposure to markets, western religions, and schools. Using large datasets, dynamical models, and statistical analysis, we identify key constraints on harvesting that emerge within the system in the form of social taboos, market control, and restricted hunting grounds. We evaluate how the process of integration into a global society may alter the system in the future and how the cultures of the region are retaining elements of traditional practice that resist these external pressures.
Jose M.V. Fragoso, Stanford University
Oskar Burger, Stanford University
Kirsten Silvius, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Animals that Hide and the Challenges of Accurate Assessment
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