Bushmeat Hunting, Wildlife Declines, and Fish Supply in West Africa

Conservation Biology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 11/2004; 306(5699):1180-3. DOI: 10.1126/science.1102425
Source: PubMed


The multibillion-dollar trade in bushmeat is among the most immediate threats to the persistence of tropical vertebrates, but our understanding of its underlying drivers and effects on human welfare is limited by a lack of empirical data. We used 30 years of data from Ghana to link mammal declines to the bushmeat trade and to spatial and temporal changes in the availability of fish. We show that years of poor fish supply coincided with increased hunting in nature reserves and sharp declines in biomass of 41 wildlife species. Local market data provide evidence of a direct link between fish supply and subsequent bushmeat demand in villages and show bushmeat's role as a dietary staple in the region. Our results emphasize the urgent need to develop cheap protein alternatives to bushmeat and to improve fisheries management by foreign and domestic fleets to avert extinctions of tropical wildlife.

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Available from: Pete Coppolillo, Jul 28, 2014
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    • "Such drivers of bushmeat consumption need to be understood if demand-focused conservation interventions are to succeed in reducing pressures on wildlife populations. Furthermore, it is important to be able to predict the effects of externally driven changes in the price or availability of substitutes like fish or domestic livestock, so as to act proactively in the face of changes in substitute prices (Brashares et al., 2004). Evidence on the determinants of the demand for bushmeat is to date rather limited. "
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    ABSTRACT: Illegal hunting for bushmeat is regarded as an important cause of biodiversity decline in Africa. We use a ‘stated preferences’ method to obtain information on determinants of demand for bushmeat and two other protein sources, fish and chicken, in villages around the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Our study focuses particularly on the impact of price changes, as anticipating and understanding the impact of price changes (whether caused by conservation interventions or market changes) on demand for bushmeat enables effective responses to be planned. We estimate the effects of changes in the price of bushmeat and in the prices of two substitute protein sources – fish and chicken – on household demand for bushmeat. Results suggest that increasing the availability of lower priced protein substitutes would reduce demand for bushmeat, and therefore, potentially pressure on wildlife populations. However, raising the price of bushmeat (e.g. as a result of reducing illegal hunting) would reduce household demand to a greater degree than equivalent decreases in the price of alternative protein sources. In both cases, elasticity of demand parameters are reported, which summarize the relative response to households to these alternative interventions. A 10% rise in bushmeat prices would reduce demand by around 6–7%, while a 10% fall in chicken or fish prices would reduce bushmeat demand by around 3–4%. The response to price changes varied between ethnic groups, and also according to household size (with the direction of the effect depending on whether the substitute was chicken or fish), but was not significantly affected by wealth or income.
    Animal Conservation 08/2015; 18(4). DOI:10.1111/acv.12184 · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    • "This is the result of a high fish demand, and the combination of a stable political environment and its commissioning of the only commercial fish feed mill in West Africa (Ainoo-Ansah, 2013; Frimpong et al., 2014). The country derives a majority of its dietary protein from fish (Brashares et al., 2004), with an estimated per capita fish consumption of 20–30 kg per annum in 2009 (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2012). This is higher than the global estimate of about 18 kg (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Best management practices (BMPs) are the most cost-effective means of mitigating negative impacts of pond aquaculture on the environment. The impacts of BMPs and other innovations on fish farm profits have been studied widely. This study estimates impacts of BMP adoption on social welfare. We employed the economic surplus model to determine net present value (NPV) of adopting the more expensive but less polluting commercial floating fish feed in the pond culture of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in Ghana. We also conducted a sensitivity analysis to determine which variables had the greatest influence on mean NPV. Our results indicate an NPV of US$ 11 million from the adoption of commercial floating feed in pond farming alone in Ghana. The variables with the biggest impacts on NPV were level of change in tilapia yield, and level of change in production costs, with the adoption of the new feed type. We conclude that adoption of yield-enhancing BMPs and innovations in Ghana will result in significant social welfare benefits. We recommend that credit programs and other financial packages be set up by governments or nongovernmental organizations to help farmers meet the increased cost of fish feed and to accelerate diffusion of commercial fish feed in pond farming.
    05/2015; 1(1). DOI:10.1080/23311932.2015.1048579
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    • "Here, we estimated forest canopy removal rate within and outside of protected areas to assess effectiveness of protected areas. Protected areas may be especially vulnerable when the economy declines; as people's income plummets, they rely more on natural resources, such as bushmeat (Bragina et al., 2015; Brashares et al., 2004; Wilkie and Godoy, 2014). A striking example of a major economic downturn was the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent transition to post-socialism, which resulted in increased poverty (Dudwick et al., 2003), abandonment of agriculture (Ioffe and Nefedova, 2004), and the decline of livestock populations (Kolesnikov, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Economic and social transition periods can have strong negative effects for the environment and for wildlife. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 provides a striking example of social turmoil and transition to a new society. It is unclear, however, how humans affected the environment in the course of the collapse , and if institutions designed to safeguard the environment continued to fulfill their intended role. Our goal was to assess the impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union on forest canopy removal rates in protected areas, and how these rates varied by protected area status and over time. We monitored forest canopy removal within and outside of protected areas using a 1985–2010 time series of Landsat satellite images from the Western Caucasus. On average, we found surprisingly low annual forest canopy removal rates of only 0.03%. The highest canopy removal inside of protected areas of all types occurred after 2000. Among the protected areas, we found the highest canopy removal rates within Sochi National Park, attributable to construction for the Olympic Games and in spite of the Park's protected status. Overall, it is encouraging that forest canopy removal rates in protected areas in the Western Caucasus are far lower than in other Russian regions. Because many local endemic plant and animal species are found in the Caucasus region, clear cuts are prohibited, and this regulation appears to be effective. However, forest canopy removal within protected areas caused by major social and political events such as the Olympic Games is of concern.
    Biological Conservation 04/2015; 184:456-464. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.02.013 · 3.76 Impact Factor
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