Variation in Indigenous Forest Resource Use in Central GuyanaReport as inadecuate

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Sustainable forest conservation strategies should be based on local as well as landscape-scale forest resource use data. Using ecological and sociological techniques, we test the hypotheses that 1 forest resource use differs between ethnic and socioeconomic indigenous groups and 2 that this difference results in differing spatial patterns of resource use, with implications for forest diversity and for conservation planning. In the North Rupununi Guyana, three adjacent indigenous communities differing in their indigenous-immigrant balance were recorded using 73 animal and 164 plant species plus several unidentified ethno-species. Farm sites formed important foci for most forest based activities and ex-farm sites supported similar floristic diversity to surrounding forest. Resource usage differences between communities could be attributed to socio-cultural drivers, e.g. mammal meat consumption and the use of the fruits from the palm tree A. maripa were higher in more traditional households. When extracting household construction timber, lower income groups created small scattered felling sites akin to tree fall gaps whereas higher income groups created larger gaps. Lower income indigenous households tended to clear larger but more contained sites for farming while mixed or non-Amerindian household tended to clear smaller but more widely dispersed farm sites. These variations resulted in different patterns of forest disturbance originating from agriculture and timber extraction.

Author: Claire M. P. Ozanne , Christie Cabral, Peter J. Shaw



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