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Research Report

Bushmeat harvest in tropical forests: Knowledge base, gaps and research priorities

Varun Swamy
Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2014
Pages: 32
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)

    For millennia, terrestrial wildlife has been the primary source of protein and a major contributor to local livelihoods for millions of tropical forest inhabitants worldwide. Although humans have always used wildlife as a source of food and materials, the scale of the current harvest is unprecedented and is growing rapidly. Increasing demand for bushmeat and animal-based products, development and dissemination of modern firearms and other more effective methods of hunting, and increased access to remote forests, have combined to create an unprecedented pressure on wild animal populations in tropical forests worldwide (Robinson and Bodmer 1999).

    To date, much research effort...

  2. (pp. 2-9)

    Bushmeat harvest has a profound impact on hunted species globally. Although non-threatened species are hunted more frequently than threatened ones (Nasi et al. 2011), hunting is a primary threat to about 85% of the primates and ungulates that are endangered or critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List (Table 1). Over 93% of endangered, large-bodied, ground-feeding birds (Galliformes – pheasants, fowls, guans, curassows, etc.) are threatened mainly by hunting (Table 1).

    The impact of hunting varies among tropical continents. Globally, many species are being hunted at an unsustainable level, which has already led to increases in prices and shifts...

  3. (pp. 10-12)

    Urban areas of the world are expected to generate most of the global population growth over the next four decades, partly by incorporating portions of the current rural population. Most of the urban population growth will be in cities in less developed regions. The urban populations of Asia, Africa and Latin America are projected to grow by 1.4 billion, 0.9 billion and 0.2 billion, respectively. The continuing increase in bushmeat supplies to urban markets, coupled with the projected growth in human population, suggest that these demographic shifts will be of enormous importance to the harvest of bushmeat in the coming...

  4. (pp. 13-14)

    A truly sustainable use of bushmeat will require management changes at all scales, from local to international. Management practices will undoubtedly vary according to local conditions, but several consistencies have appeared in the efforts undertaken so far. This section examines some of the management practices that have been tested or proposed. Overall, the evaluation metrics are inadequate to draw conclusions; an improved system for tracking the results of reforms and projects would improve management.

    Empty forests have concerned biologists and conservationists for decades. More recently, they have also become an imperative for development professionals, because as target animal populations decline,...

  5. (pp. 15-15)

    This section focuses on the specific objective of improving resource management and the sustainability of bushmeat harvest. The emphasis is on research that advances our understanding of the dynamic connections and dependencies among hunters, prey and forests. Of particular interest are the potential responses of bushmeat markets and resources to predicted climate change, urban expansion and other socio-environmental shifts.

    Appendix 1 presents the most pressing research gaps in our existing knowledge. Attention to these issues will substantively advance the aim of sustainably harvesting bushmeat. Asia, the Neotropics and Africa are treated separately because their research needs differ. Overall, Asia lags...