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UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA (2005)

FACTORS UNDERLYING THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN PEOPLE AND WILDLIFE IN THE ARGENTINE CHACO

Altrichter Mariana

Titre : FACTORS UNDERLYING THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN PEOPLE AND WILDLIFE IN THE ARGENTINE CHACO

Auteur : Mariana Altrichter

Université de soutenance : UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Grade : DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PhD) 2005

Résumé
I assessed major factors influencing the interactions between the mestizo community and wildlife of the Impenetrable, in the Argentine Chaco, and the ways in which these interactions are influenced by the larger economic and political context. I used a mixed qualitative and quantitative methods approach, between 2001 and 2005. I found that wildlife represented an important food source, especially for the poorer rural households. The importance of wild meat varied across the community and region, in relation to the socioeconomic characteristics of households, village size, forest condition, season, species biology, and cultural preferences. Some species used by local people, primarily white-lipped and chacoan peccaries, and jaguar, were in decline and their range had been reduced by habitat destruction and overhunting, especially in the humid sub-region. These species persisted in areas of low human density, low hunting pressure and scarce development. Harvest of peccaries for food was unsustainable. Characteristics of the resource and of the community explained the lack of incentives for community-based management of peccaries. The resource was too large in relation to the local technology and the community’s institutional capacities were scarcely developed. Changes in property right regimes also influenced people-wildlife interactions and were related with species mobility. Acquisition of land title by peasants did not reduce overexploitation of highly mobile resources such as peccaries, which continued to be hunted as open access resources. The national economic collapse of 2001 had a strong influence in the region. Hunting by villagers increased as a result of growing unemployment, whereas peasants reduced their hunting and turned to forest exploitation. Acquisition of land title by non-locals and intensification of ranching and forest exploitation subsequently increased, thereby affecting the livelihoods of local peasants by reducing grazing areas and affecting wildlife by reducing habitat. This study shows how people-wildlife interactions are complex and dynamic, and indicates that conservation measures are unlikely to succeed without considering the biological, cultural, socio-economic, and political factors involved. External factors require especial consideration. In this case, a national change in economic policy produced a local change in land use that is jeopardizing the peasants culture and the region’s biodiversity.

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