More than just trees : animal species diversity and participatory forest monitoring in the Ecuadorian Amazon

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Abstract

The gradual disappearance of tropical animal species due to overhunting and habitat loss represents a major risk for
biodiversity and tropical rainforest conservation efforts. Uncontrolled hunting and other human-induced declines in diversity
and abundance of seed-dispersing animal species might also negatively affect biomass carbon storage, which could undermine
climate change mitigation efforts. We study how the Ecuadorian Socio Bosque conservation incentive programme [Programa Socio Bosque – PSB] addresses animal species conservation and engages with local communities. Drawing on official documents, as well as interviews and observations in four indigenous communities that participate in PSB, we discuss the role of local participation in conservation monitoring. The PSB’s incentive and control approach has to some extent supported the establishment and financing of forest monitoring systems in indigenous communities. However, we argue that
PSB in its current design exerts a conservation gap because it does not include animal species diversity and abundance as important components for successful long-term forest conservation. Supporting a bottom-up participatory monitoring methodology for locally-based conservation action can increase the existing positive conservation attitudes among community members. We provide specific examples of how animal species conservation and participatory monitoring can be
combined and carried out.

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  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-238
JournalInternational Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management
Volume9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes