C4 Human ecological parameters and their relevance in preserving biodiversity and improving livelihoods in the Biosphere Reserve Podocarpus – El Cóndor
[funded by DFG]
PI(s) for this project:
Human ecological parameters and their relevance in preserving biodiversity and
improving livelihoods in the Biosphere Reserve Podocarpus – El Cóndor
In the agricultural frontier zone of southern Ecuador, a region with heterogenic ethnic, socio-cultural and socio-economic structures, profound knowledge of human ecological parameters is crucial for the conservation of tropical rainforests, the improving of local livelihoods and the identification of sustainable land use options. In biodiversity-rich places local people usually have a detailed ecological knowledge of species, ecosystems, ecological relationships and historical or recent changes to them. At the
local level, utilitarian and socio-cultural values such as local perceptions and beliefs are the driving force behind use, management and conservation of natural resources.
Additionally, economic and political factors influence people’s decision-making. Under current pressures of deforestation, fragmentation and species extinction, there is an
urgent need to thoroughly study the issues of environmental knowledge and
perception, livelihood systems and land tenure systems among the three ethnic groups (Shuar, Saraguro, Mestizo) living in the agricultural frontier zone of the Biosphere Reserve Podocarpus – El Cóndor. The analysis and evaluation of these four topics is indispensable for the sustainable management of a megadiverse mountain ecosystem.
In its second phase the project will concentrate its efforts on the compilation and synthesis of ethnoecological, agrogeographical, household-economical data obtained
from previous field research among Saraguro and Mestizo communities. A new
emphasis of research will be put on selected human ecological parameters among the Shuar communities in the Nangaritza valley which have not been studied so far.