Combining offtake and participatory data to assess the sustainability of a hunting system in northern Congo



Riddell M, Maisels F, Lawrence A, Stokes E, Schulte‐Herbrüggen B & Ingram DJ (2022) Combining offtake and participatory data to assess the sustainability of a hunting system in northern Congo. African Journal of Ecology, 60 (2), pp. 250-267.

Research suggests that bushmeat is hunted at unsustainable rates throughout much of the Congo basin, although accurately measuring hunting sustainability is challenging. Offtake data can contribute towards sustainability assessments, and when incorporated with information on hunters' strategies, can be used to monitor changes in hunting dynamics. We used a combination of (1) a long-term, quantitative yet low-resolution hunting offtake data set, (2) qualitative data acquired through participatory methods, and (3) a high-resolution offtake survey, to examine the changes in a hunting system undergoing change due to new roads and associated socio-economic developments in northern Republic of the Congo. Our results indicated that while the conclusions drawn from the different data sets were broadly the same (indicating wildlife depletion, particularly in one hunting zone), the results of the analysis of the participatory and the high-resolution offtake data set provided an explanation for trends in the long-term low-resolution offtake data set, including the degree to which long-term trends are due to changes in hunting strategy, or in underlying wildlife populations. We discuss how participatory hunter surveys can be used to distinguish between changes in prey populations and changes in hunting strategy in long-term low-resolution hunting offtake data sets, therefore, improving the effectiveness of long-term offtake data sets to assess sustainability of hunting.

bushmeat; hunter behaviour; indicators; spatial dynamics; wild meat

African Journal of Ecology: Volume 60, Issue 2

FundersNatural Environment Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Publication date30/06/2022
Publication date online25/03/2022
Date accepted by journal07/03/2022

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Professor Fiona Maisels

Professor Fiona Maisels

Honorary Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences