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Large-scale Environmental Monitoring by Indigenous Peoples

Jeffrey B. Luzar, Kirsten M. Silvius, Han Overman, Sean T. Giery, Jane M. Read and José M. V. Fragoso
Vol. 61, No. 10 (October 2011), pp. 771-781
DOI: 10.1525/bio.2011.61.10.7
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Page Count: 11
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Large-scale Environmental Monitoring by Indigenous Peoples
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Changes in vertebrate populations in tropical ecosystems are often understood to occur at large spatial and temporal scales. Understanding these dynamics and developing management responses when they are affected by hunting and land-use change require research and monitoring at large spatial scales. Data collection at such scales can be accomplished only through the participation of locally resident nonscientists. To assess the feasibility of rigorous, scientifically valid data collection under such conditions, we describe the design and management of a three-year study of the relationships among socioeconomic factors, hunting behavior, and wildlife population dynamics in a 48,000-square-kilometer, predominantly indigenous region of Amazonia. All of the data in the study were collected by locally recruited and trained indigenous technicians. We describe data collection and verification systems adapted to the culturally influenced data-collection practices of these technicians and propose protocols and improvements on our methodology to guide future large-scale research-and-monitoring projects.

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