UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Rural protein insufficiency in a wildlife-depleted west African farm-forest landscape

Schulte-Herbrüggen, B; Cowlishaw, G; Homewood, K; Rowcliffe, M; (2018) Rural protein insufficiency in a wildlife-depleted west African farm-forest landscape. PLoS ONE , 12 (12) , Article e0188109. 10.1371/journal.pone.0188109. Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
journal.pone.0188109.pdf - Published version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

Introduction: Wildlife is an important source of protein for many people in developing countries. Yet wildlife depletion due to overexploitation is common throughout the humid tropics and its effect on protein security, especially for vulnerable households, is poorly understood. This is problematic for both sustainable rural development and conservation management. Methods: This study investigates a key dimension of protein security in a cash-crop farming community living in a wildlife-depleted farm-forest landscape in SW Ghana, a region where protein–energy malnutrition persists. Specifically, we monitored protein sufficiency, defined as whether consumption met daily requirements, as benchmarked by recommended daily allowance (RDA). We focus on whether more vulnerable households were less likely to be able to meet their protein needs, where vulnerability was defined by wealth, agricultural season and gender of the household head. Our central hypothesis was: (a) vulnerable households are less likely to consume sufficient protein. In the context that most plant proteins were home-produced, so likely relatively accessible to all households, while most animal proteins were purchased, so likely less accessible to vulnerable households, we tested two further hypotheses: (b) vulnerable households depend more on plant protein to cover their protein needs; and (c) vulnerable households are less likely to earn sufficient cash income to meet their protein needs through purchased animal sources. Results: Between 14% and 60% of households (depending on plant protein content assumptions) consumed less than the RDA for protein, but neither protein consumption nor protein sufficiency co-varied with household vulnerability. Fish, livestock and food crops comprised 85% of total protein intake and strongly affected protein sufficiency. However, bushmeat remained an important protein source (15% of total consumption), especially during the post-harvest season when it averaged 26% of total protein consumption. Across the year, 89% of households experienced at least one occasion when they had insufficient income to cover their protein needs through animal protein purchases. The extent of this income shortage was highest during the lean season and among poorer households. Conclusions: These findings indicate that despite wildlife depletion, bushmeat continues to make a substantial contribution to protein consumption, especially during the agricultural lean season. Income shortages among farmers limit their ability to purchase bushmeat or its substitutes, suggesting that wildlife depletion may cause malnutrition.

Type: Article
Title: Rural protein insufficiency in a wildlife-depleted west African farm-forest landscape
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188109
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0188109
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 Schulte-Herbrüggen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10028760
Downloads since deposit
38Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item