About this Research Topic
In Tropical and sub-tropical Range States, wildmeat is an important source of nutrition and income, but current extraction levels of vulnerable taxa are considered unsustainable. As such, wildmeat use is often seen as problematic for wildlife conservation. From a development perspective, balancing the nutritional needs of people who depend on wildmeat with biodiversity conservation is the greatest challenge. But why can’t wildmeat use be seen as an ally for conservation?
Most analysis of wildmeat use have framed the problem around a rather simplistic paradigm where wildmeat use is unsustainable and should therefore be reduced or stopped to ensure wildlife conservation. Indeed, until the early start of this century most research efforts have been rooted in the biological disciplines, focused on quantifying the magnitude of the trade and measuring its level of destruction on wildlife species and ecosystems. This most often led to the institution of prohibitive policies intended for the protection of the wild resources, such as separating people from wildlife, expanding tightly-managed protected area networks, blanket criminalization of wild meat hunting, and increasing enforcement and interdiction measures. More recently, based on the elucidation of the role of wild meat in human livelihoods, some practitioners defend the idea that consumptive uses of wildlife are the only way to save it in the long run.
In this research topic, we encourage articles that consider both theoretical analysis and concrete case studies to show that there is no single answer to reconcile the use of wildmeat for food security and livelihoods and conservation. We will explore policies and regulations intended to reduce the ecological impact of hunting. These polices should encompass a multifaceted approach, whereby sustainable wildlife use initiatives are promoted, alternative sources of income and protein are developed taking into account cultural contexts and economical profitability and laws on wildlife use reframed and enforced to ensure both positive conservation outcomes and the recognition of local realities. The governance of wild meat will ultimately depend on understanding and working with people, with narrow biocentric or anthropocentric approaches running the risk of failure in the long term. If wildlife is to be sustainably used in the future, there is undoubtedly a need to not just understand the main motives for overexploitation and to assess trends and trade-offs, but to develop integrated and flexible strategies that balance different priorities, interests and needs, whilst ensuring that adequate monitoring schemes are in place.
In this Research Topic we will analyze the socio-ecological transformations needed for wild animals to remain part of the menus and be recognized as legitimate components of diversified diets in the context of future sustainable food systems. These transformations include clearer legal pathways for the sustainable use of wild animals, efficient and decentralized governance systems to allow for adaptive management, landscape approaches based on land sharing to allow for multiple use, marketing strategies to reduce unsustainable demand from urban areas, and the respectful combination of modernity and tradition for pro-active innovation.
Keywords: Bushmeat, wildmeat, sustainability, subsistence, trade, food security, livelihoods
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.