Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beyond hunters and hunted: An integrative anthropology of human-wildlife dynamics and resource use in a central African forest
by Jost, Carolyn A., Ph.D., Purdue University, 2012, 291; 3544212
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation, I deconstruct the homogenous categories of hunters and hunted, and highlight the importance of the synergistic relationships between the two in a dynamic forest system by examining theoretical, ecological and ethnographic components of hunting within the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic (CAR). The combined use of ecological line transect data, net drives, ethnographic interviews and data on hunter catchments enhances our understanding of the outcomes of these relationships their multiplicative effects for humans and wildlife. Across west and central African, the viability of wildlife populations and the human communities dependent upon on them hinges on our ability to understand such dynamic human-environment relationships. Moreover, the long-term presence of extractive industries in these regions coupled with a burgeoning global economy in bushmeat has amplified these changing relationships, threatening the viability of animal populations and human livelihoods.

I suggest that current conceptions of the categories of hunters, hunted, and the equilibrium of forest ecosystems and the ways in which we study them has served not only to cloud our understandings of human-environment relationships but has also limited the success of many international conservation and development efforts aimed at the mitigating the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on biodiversity. This dissertation addresses these limitations by taking a transdisciplinary approach to examining the relationships that exist between wildlife populations, human communities, and subsistence practices. My discussions emphasize the "contact zone" between hunter and hunted as an ideal entry point for increasing our understanding of the co-adaptive nature of human-animal encounters. I suggest that an examination of the intersections between hunters and hunted are best facilitated through studies of critical prey species. Cephalophus species (commonly known as duikers), and increasingly nonhuman primates, are preferred protein sources for local human inhabitants across the Congo Basin.

Building on long-term research at RDS allows me to contextualize changes in both wildlife and human populations over time. Integration of human perceptions of and participation in the extractive use of forest resources with data regarding population abundance and sustainability of prey species will elucidate the connections between human use patterns and wildlife abundance. Further it will help to facilitate the preparation of specific plans for actively managing forest exploitation in the RDS region. This study is one of the first to integrate multiple theoretical frameworks and methods of inquiry with a long-term dataset to address the futures of human-wildlife interactions in a dynamic forest system.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Remis, Melissa J.
Commitee: Blackwood, Evelyn, Williams, Sharon, Zanotti, Laura, Zollner, Patrick
School: Purdue University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-B 74/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Wildlife Conservation, Ecology, Environmental Studies
Keywords: Anthropology, Duikers, Ethnography, Human-wildlife interactions, Hunting, Primates
Publication Number: 3544212
ISBN: 9781267740625