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Multi-faceted approaches to understanding changes in wildlife and livelihoods in a protected area: a conservation case study from the Central African Republic

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 07 March 2011

Commercialized hunting and trade of wildlife are the largest threats to mammal populations and human livelihoods in the Congo Basin. It is widely recognized that the lives of humans and wildlife in this region are inextricably intertwined. However, few studies have attempted to integrate both human and wildlife dimensions using ethnographic data to better contextualize the trade and its ecological impacts. This paper outlines a methodological approach that combines ethnographic research, ecological line transects and market surveys in the Dzanga Sangha Reserve (Central African Republic). Results from each research component are reported separately in order to provide examples of how each would answer specific questions about the status of wildlife populations and the scale of hunting within a protected area. The integrated analysis of ethnographic, market and ecological datasets clarifies synergistic impacts operating in the region and provides a more nuanced understanding of changes in both the forest and the market based on information gleaned from hunting practices and hunter interviews. This research demonstrates the potential pitfalls of using a singular approach to make recommendations on complex human-environment issues. Such cross-disciplinary mixed-methods approaches will further understandings of dynamic wildlife populations and forge more informed environmental policy recommendations.

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*Correspondence: Carolyn Jost Robinson e-mail:
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