On the road to Betampona. Chris Golden. Madagascar Conservation & Development

Socio-ecological analysis of natural resource use in Betampona Strict Natural Reserve

Christopher D. Golden, Josoa G. C. Rabehatonina, Andritahina Rakotosoa, Maya Moore

Abstract


Without an adequate understanding of the socio-political context in which a natural environment is embedded, it is impossible to prevent, mitigate and adapt to future unwanted changes in the socio - ecological system. It is advantageous for environmental managers to see the social aspects of the socio-ecological system so that they can understand not only the effects but also the motivations of natural resource use. In Madagascar, lemurs and other mammalian wildlife are hotly contested resources because they are threatened and endemic biodiversity and yet are hunted for food throughout the island. Using semi - structured interviews in nearly 300 households in 19 communities surrounding the Betampona Strict Natural Reserve, our team found that more than 60 % of households had consumed wildlife within the past year, with approximately a quarter of wildlife harvest being illegal and nearly 95 % of wildlife harvest being directed to subsistence consumption and not for sale. Although rates of wildlife consumption were quite low throughout the region, we found a strong effect of the pres­ence of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group research station. We found that the rates of wildlife consumption increased by 1.3 times for each kilometer distance from the station. Due to the low rates of wildlife consumption, we did not find a significant impact on human health and anemia (as measured through hemoglobin levels), and very low prevalence of anemia generally compared to other regions of Madagascar. Wildlife consumption does not appear to play a tremendous economic or health role in the communities surrounding this particular protected area, and thus increased enforcement of seasonal infractions of legal species and of all illegal species would be warranted. To improve current levels of nutrition, targeted interventions could focus on domesticated livestock diseases that plague the region.

 

RÉSUMÉ

Lorsque des changements inopinés surviennent dans un sys­tème socio-écologique, il est impossible de prévenir, d’atté­nuer et d’adapter si le contexte socio-politique dans lequel un environnement naturel évolue n’est pas bien compris. Les gestionnaires de l’environnement ont tout intérêt à considérer les aspects sociaux du système socio-écologique de manière à comprendre non seulement les effets de l’utilisation des res­sources naturelles mais aussi ce qui motive cette utilisation. A Madagascar, les lémuriens et d’autres mammifères sont des ressources vivement contestées car ces espèces sont mena­cées et tout en représentant la biodiversité endémique, elles sont cependant chassées pour leur viande sur l’ensemble de l’île. En utilisant des entretiens semi-structurés auprès de 300 ménages dans 19 communautés villageoises de la périphérie de la Réserve Naturelle Intégrale de Betampona, la présente étude a montré que plus de 60 % des ménages avaient consommé du gibier au cours de l’année écoulée dont environ un quart de manière illégale et près de 95 % pour répondre à des besoins de subsistance mais pas pour la vente. Bien que les taux de consommation de gibier étaient plutôt faibles sur l’ensemble de la région, un fort effet de la présence de la station de recherche de Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group a été noté avec des taux de consommation de gibier multipliés par un facteur de 1,3 pour chaque km distant de la station de recherche. En raison des faibles taux de consommation de gibier, aucun impact signifi­catif sur la santé humaine et l’anémie n’a été observé (tel que mesuré par le taux d’hémoglobine) et une prévalence extrême­ment faible de l’anémie générale par rapport à d’autres régions de Madagascar. La consommation de gibier ne semble pas jouer un rôle économique ou sanitaire majeur pour les communautés de la périphérie de cette aire protégée en particulier, de sorte qu’il serait justifié d’appliquer plus strictement les lois portant sur le calendrier de chasse du gibier autorisé et l’interdiction de chasser d’autres espèces. Pour améliorer les niveaux actuels de la nutrition, des interventions ciblées pourraient se concentrer sur les maladies des animaux domestiques qui sévissent dans la région.

 


Keywords


hunting; bushmeat; malnutrition; conservation; hemoglobin; lemurs; tenrecs; bats; carnivores

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/mcd.v9i2.4

Madag. conserv. dev.
ISSN: 1662-2510