Hellier, A., Newton, A. and Ochoa Gaona, S., 1999. Use of indigenous knowledge for assessing trends in biodiversity: a case study from Chiapas, Mexico. Biodiversity and Conservation, 8 (7), pp. 869-889.
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n order to evaluate the usefulness of rapid surveys of indigenous knowledge for assessing trends in biodiversity, a case study was undertaken in two rural communities, Juznajab and Muquenal, in Chiapas, Mexico. This involved the use of a variety of rapid rural appraisal (RRA) and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques, including semi-structured interviews, transect walks and participatory mapping. These approaches were used in conjunction with analysis of land use maps and aerial photographs to evaluate recent changes in vegetation cover and abundance of utilised species. In both communities, the extent of forest cover was considered by local people to have declined substantially in recent decades, with an annual decline in forest cover of 0.3% and 0.6% estimated by local people in Juznajab and Muquenal, respectively. Results from RRA indicated that this has been accompanied by significant declines in the abundance of useful species. In Juznajab 60% and 79%, and in Muquenal 96% and 85% of plants and animal species, respectively, were considered to have declined within living memory. These declines appear to result from over-utilization as well as habitat changes. For example, most of the tree species used for timber and the animal species used for meat were considered to have declined substantially in both communities. These results indicate that indigenous knowledge is potentially a valuable source of information about biodiversity trends, which could be assessed during Rapid Biodiversity Assessments and incorporated into the process of resource management by local communities. However, the contradictions recorded between assessments of vegetation change by local people and data obtained from other sources indicates the need for caution in the use of indigenous knowledge for this purpose.
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||indigenous knowledge - Mexico - Rapid Biodiversity Assessment - rapid rural appraisal|
|Subjects:||Geography and Environmental Studies|
|Group:||School of Applied Sciences > Centre for Conservation, Ecology and Environmental Change|
|Deposited By:||Professor Adrian Newton|
|Deposited On:||18 Dec 2009 10:14|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 15:19|
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