Effects of landscape features on the distribution and sustainability of ungulate hunting in northern Congo
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Conservation Biology. 25(3): 514-525.
Understanding the spatial dimensions of hunting and prey population dynamics is important in order to estimate the sustainability of hunting in tropical forests. We investigated how hunting offtake of vertebrates differed in mixed forest and monodominant forest (composed of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei) and over different spatial extents within the hunting catchment around the logging town of Kabo, Congo. In 9 months of recall surveys with hunters, we gathered information on over 1500 hunting trips in which ungulates were 65% of the species killed and 82% of harvested biomass. Hunters supplied information on animals killed and the hunting trip, including the area visited (i.e., hunting zone; 11 separate zones within a 506 km2 catchment or commonly hunted area). Over 65% of all animals were killed in monodominant forest, which made up 28% of the hunting catchment, and zones with small amounts of monodominant forest were used most frequently by hunters. Given the large offtakes from monodominant forests, we suggest that animal dispersal may be maintaining high, localized harvests in these areas. We believe hunters preferred to hunt in monodominant forest because the understory was accessible and that areas with small amounts of monodominant forest and large amounts of mixed forest were more productive. The variation in hunting pressure we found between and within hunting zones differs from past examinations of spatial variation in hunting offtake, where entire hunting catchments were considered population sinks and areas with low to no hunting (no-take zones) were outside hunting catchments. Future use of no-take zones to manage hunting should incorporate variability in offtake within hunting catchments.
Mockrin, Miranda H.; Rockwell, Robert F.; Redford, Kent H.; Keuler, Nicholas S. 2011. Effects of landscape features on the distribution and sustainability of ungulate hunting in northern Congo. Conservation Biology. 25(3): 514-525.