• Effects of selective logging on large mammal populations in a remote indigenous territory in the northern Peruvian Amazon

      Mayor, Pedro; Pérez-Peña, Pedro; Bowler, Mark; Puertas, Pablo; Kirkland, Maire; Bodmer, Richard (2015)
      We examined the effects of selective timber logging carried out by local indigenous people in remote areas within indigenous territories on the mammal populations of the Yavari-Mirin River basin on the Peru-Brazil border. Recent findings show that habitat change in the study area is minimal, and any effect of logging activities on large mammal populations is highly likely to be the result of hunting associated with logging operations. We used hunting registers to estimate the monthly and yearly biomass extracted during timber operations and to calculate the catch per unit effort (CPUE) in subsistence hunting in the community of Esperanza 2 to 5 years before logging activities started and 4 to 7 years after logging began. We also used line transects and the distance method to estimate animal densities before and after logging. We found that 1389 hunted animals and 27,459 kg of mammal biomass were extracted per year from logging concessions. CPUE for ungulates declined; however, it increased for other mammal orders, such as rodents and primates, indicating a shift to alternative prey items. Although collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu) and tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) may also have declined in numbers, this shift may have been caused by a possibly natural population crash in white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) that coincided with the logging periods. We found no evidence that populations of primates were reduced by the logging activities. Because primates are sensitive to hunting, and their populations were of principal concern as logging commenced, this indicates that these forests remain of high conservation value. The unusual socioeconomic situation of these remote territories may mean that they are compatible with wildlife conservation in the Yavari-Mirin basin.
    • Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps: Composition, structure and implications for conservation and management

      Endress, Bryan A.; Horn, Christa M.; Gilmore, Michael P. (2013)
      Swamp forests dominated by the dioecious palm, Mauritia flexuosa, cover vast areas of the Amazon Basin and are poorly studied despite their recognized ecological and economic importance. This knowledge gap confounds current conservation and management efforts. In this study, we documented overstory structure and composition of M. flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) as part of a broader effort to understand their ecology and assist in developing best practices for multi-use management for the Maijuna, an indigenous group in Loreto, Peru.…
    • The ethnoprimatology of the Maijuna of the Peruvian Amazon and implications for primate conservation

      Mere Roncal, Carla; Bowler, Mark; Gilmore, Michael P. (2018)
      Background: In Amazonia, primates are not only an important food source but they also hold significant cultural and symbolic value for many indigenous groups. We document the relationship between primates and community members of the Maijuna indigenous community of Sucusari in the Peruvian Amazon and describe how ethnoprimatological studies provide a better understanding of the significance of primates in people's lives. Additionally, we explore how ethnoprimatological studies can help inform and enhance primate conservation initiatives.; Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 residents of the community of Sucusari to assess the classification, cultural significance and traditional uses, beliefs, ceremonies and stories of primates within the Sucusari River basin.; Results: Primates play an important role in the lives of individuals in the Sucusari community. They are distinguished by their arboreal lifestyle, and among the 11 species reported in the area, seven (Lagothrix lagotricha, Alouatta seniculus, Pithecia monachus, Callicebus spp., Saimiri sciureus, Leontocebus nigricollis) are highly recognized and culturally salient. Primates are used as food, medicine, pets, domestic tools and in the production of handicrafts. They are primarily hunted for local consumption, with larger primates such as L. lagotricha being preferred. Lagothrix lagotricha was also the most commonly reported pet species and the only observed pet primate in the community during surveys. Maijuna traditional beliefs include ancestral dietary taboos for A. seniculus, which are referred to as sorcerer monkeys, but this taboo is no longer fully adhered to. Maijuna traditional stories associated with primates describe the origin of primates found in Sucusari.; Conclusion: Primates are embedded in the intricate sociocultural system of the community of Sucusari. Better understanding the relationship between primates and people can help to focus conservation efforts on primate species of particularly high sociocultural importance as well as ecological value, such as L. lagotricha. We highly recommend the inclusion of ethnoprimatological studies into primate conservation initiatives to accomplish more effective conservation planning, ultimately integrating the goals of biodiversity conservation with the cultural and economic needs of indigenous and local communities.;
    • The socio-cultural importance of Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) and implications for multi-use management in two Maijuna communities of the Peruvian Amazon

      Gilmore, Michael P.; Endress, Bryan A.; Horn, Christa M. (2013)
      Background Fruit from the palm Mauritia flexuosa (aguaje) is harvested throughout the Peruvian Amazon for subsistence and commercial purposes. Recent estimates suggest that residents of Iquitos, the largest city in the region, consume approximately 148.8 metric tons of aguaje fruit per month, the vast majority of which is harvested by felling and killing adult female trees. In this study, we sought to better understand and document the importance of M. flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) in two Maijuna indigenous communities to inform the sustainable management of this habitat and species. Methods Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and household surveys were carried out to assess the significance of aguajales and their associated plant and animal resources as well as to determine how the relationship that the Maijuna have with aguajales has changed over time. Results Aguajales and their associated resources are culturally significant and useful to the Maijuna in a wide variety of ways. In addition to M. flexuosa, the Maijuna use over 60 different species of plants from aguajales. When M. flexuosa is in fruit, aguajales are important hunting areas with a total of 20 different animal species hunted. The Maijuna also have traditional beliefs about aguajales, believing that malevolent supernatural beings reside in them. Notably, the relationship that the Maijuna have with aguajales has changed considerably over the years as aguaje fruit went from a subsistence item collected opportunistically from the ground to a market good destructively harvested beginning in the early 1990s. The Maijuna are concerned not only about how this has affected the future commercial harvest of aguaje but also about its effects on game animals given the importance of hunting to Maijuna cultural identity, subsistence, and income generation. Conclusions In order to meet the multiple socio-cultural and economic needs of the Maijuna, sustainable management efforts must be expanded to not only focus on the commercial harvest of aguaje but also other facets of their relationship with this habitat. Our study suggests that the research and development of multi-use forest management plans must not be restricted to commercial forest products and ecosystem services given that many communities rely on tropical forests for a wide range of non-market cultural, economic, and subsistence goods and services.