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The Importance of Bushmeat in the Livelihoods of West African Cash-Crop Farmers Living in a Faunally-Depleted Landscape

Schulte-Herbrueggen, B; Cowlishaw, G; Homewood, K; Rowcliffe, JM; (2013) The Importance of Bushmeat in the Livelihoods of West African Cash-Crop Farmers Living in a Faunally-Depleted Landscape. PLOS ONE , 8 (8) , Article e72807. 10.1371/journal.pone.0072807. Green open access

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Abstract

Bushmeat is an important resource in the livelihoods of many rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa and may be a crucial safety-net for the most vulnerable households, especially during times of economic hardship. However, little is known about the impacts of wildlife depletion on these functions. This study quantifies the role of bushmeat in diversified rural household economies in a wildlife depleted forest-farm landscape in Ghana, assessing its importance overall, as well as differentiated by the relative vulnerability of households. Using repeat socioeconomic questionnaires (N=787) among 63 households over a one-year period, the following hypotheses were tested: (a) vulnerable households harvest more bushmeat; (b) bushmeat contributes a greater proportion of household production in vulnerable households; (c) bushmeat is more important for cash income than consumption in vulnerable households; and (d) bushmeat sales are more important for vulnerable households. The bushmeat harvest value averaged less than US$1.0 per day for 89% of households and comprised less than 7% of household production value. Household wealth and gender of the household head had little effect on the importance of bushmeat. However, bushmeat harvest and sales were highest during the agricultural lean season. Overall, most harvested bushmeat (64%) was consumed, enabling households to spend 30% less on meat/fish purchases. These findings suggest that, despite heavily depleted wildlife and diversified livelihoods, bushmeat continues to have an important role in rural livelihoods by acting as a safety net for income smoothing and reducing household expenditure during times of economic hardship.

Type: Article
Title: The Importance of Bushmeat in the Livelihoods of West African Cash-Crop Farmers Living in a Faunally-Depleted Landscape
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072807
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0072807
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 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. PubMed ID: 23977355
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/1400618
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