Subsistence use of terrestrial and aquatic animal resources in the Tierra Comunitaria de Origen Itonama of lowland Bolivia
Winter, Kimberly Ann
MetadataShow full item record
This study identifies terrestrial and aquatic resource management priorities for a proposed indigenous territory, the Tierra Comunitaria de Origen Itonama (TCOI), located in the lowland Amazonian floodplain of Beni, Bolivia. The research focused on extractive activities in the town of Bella Vista, and the objectives were: 1) to determine the species of terrestrial and aquatic fauna that were most frequently harvested for subsistence purposes by human residents, 2) to evaluate preferences and selectivity for particular species of terrestrial prey, 3) to quantify harvest of prey groups (birds, mammals, fish, reptiles) as a proportion of the local diet and economy, 4) to compare hunting, fishing, and production of livestock as sources of animal protein, and 5) to evaluate management of aquatic resources as represented by an indicator species, Colossoma macropomum. Research methods were interdisciplinary, and included interviews with residents of Bella Vista, transect surveys of terrestrial fauna, hunting and fishing activity reports, diet calendars, and collection of selected species. The results of interviews and harvest activity reports indicated that residents sometimes select or avoid certain species of prey according to cognitive preferences, rather than simply abundance or yield per unit of hunting effort, and those preferences may induce over-harvest. Ten species of mammals were identified as the most recognized and actively pursued terrestrial prey for human subsistence in Bella Vista: Agouti paca, Dasypus novemcinctus, Tayassu pecari, Mazama americana, Tayassu tajacu, Blastocerus dichotomus, Tapirus terrestris, Dasyprocta variegata, Mazama gouazoubira, and Priodontes maximus. Management efforts should focus on species that are most frequently exploited, are particular to certain habitats, and/or are vulnerable to depletion. Hunting and fishing activity reports and diet calendars demonstrated the economic and environmental significance of managing fish resources in particular for the subsistence of residents in the TCOI, and of protecting aquatic habitats from degradation due to deforestation and cattle ranching. Fisheries and aquatic resource management is promoted in a case study of Colossoma macropomum, the most important species of fish in the TCOI. Active, participatory, and adaptable management of natural resources in the TCOI will determine the survival of resident populations of fish, wildlife, and humans.