Do levels of income explain differences in game abundance? An empirical test in two Honduran villages
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 11, Number 10, 2002 , pp. 1845-1868(24)
Abstract:Although researchers have documented the role of anthropogenic hunting pressure on the abundance of game, few have measured the direct effects of income or economic development on game abundance. Economic theory tends to predict an ambiguous causal relation between income and the abundance of game. Here we test whether income (a standard proxy of economic development) erodes the abundance of game in two Tawahka Amerindian villages in the rain forest of Honduras. The two villages have similar ecologies and weather and lie 17 km apart but differ in income, population size, wealth, the presence of outside institutions, and hunting pressure. A census of animals done over 2 continuous years suggests that the richer village had less game and relatively fewer large-bodied animals. At the level of animal groups (e.g., mammals) or individual species, or when we include controls for the simultaneous effect of vegetation type, distance from the start of the hunting trail, and time of the year through a random-effect probit model, the two villages display no statistically significant differences in game abundance. A random-effect, multivariate tobit model, in fact, suggests that being in the more remote village correlated with 43.5% fewer animals seen in any one encounter; results were significant at the 99% confidence level. The conclusions contain a discussion of why income might produce ambiguous effects on game abundance and the tradeoffs of using bivariate and multivariate techniques to analyze the covariates of game abundance in the tropical rain forests of the New World.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Indep 2: Brandeis University, Sustainable International Development Program, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Waltham, USA 3: Wildlife Conservation Society, 185th and Southern Blvd, Bronx, USA 4: University of Amsterdam, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, The Netherlands 5: The Ohio State University, Department of Geography, 154 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, USA 6: University of Puerto Rico, Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico
Publication date: 2002-01-01