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Why indigenous hunting is essential to forest sustainability

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Why indigenous hunting is essential to forest sustainability

Hunting has a bad reputation and is rarely considered in forest governance and conservation strategies. But what if, instead, we tried to learn from it?

Many of us think of the Amazon as an untouched wilderness, but people have been thriving in these diverse environments for millennia. Due to this long history, the knowledge that Indigenous and forest communities pass between generations about plants, animals and forest ecology is incredibly rich and detailed and easily dwarfs that of any expert.

For one thing, Indigenous people see animals and humans as integral to nature. This holistic view is often missing in contemporary, science-based forest governance and conservation strategies, which tend to focus solely on forest cover.

In my Silent Forest project I’m investigating how Indigenous communities in Colombia apply traditional ecological knowledge in wildlife management. Based on my research so far, I would like to argue that subsistence hunting, and the traditional ecological knowledge that guides and regulates it, must be recognized as a key forest-management strategy.

Read the full essay at The Revelator.

 

Author: Torsten Krause, Associate senior lecturer at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), Sweden. Torsten's current research covers hunting and defaunation in tropical forests, with a focus on the Colombian and Ecuadorian Amazon (financed by the Swedish Science Counsil - Vetenskapsrådet).

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