Regaining the traditional use of wildlife in wetlands on the coastal plain of Veracruz, Mexico: ensuring food security in the face of global climate change
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- González-Marín, R.M., Moreno-Casasola, P., Castro-Luna, A.A. et al. Reg Environ Change (2016). doi:10.1007/s10113-016-0955-x
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Wetlands play important roles that benefit social-ecological systems. They are threatened by climate change and human activities, i.e., raising livestock and wildlife hunting. The latter is essential for subsistence and for the food security of rural communities. To understand the traditional uses of wildlife, we examined the use of wildlife among people living within and outside of, but close to wetlands, in the communities located in four municipalities of Veracruz, Mexico, using open-ended interviews. We also analyzed the socioeconomic factors and environmental problems associated with the use of wildlife, and how these affect food security. People, especially those living within the wetlands, use wildlife mainly for food and trade. Wildlife is mainly used as food but also as pets, ornaments and medicine. The most useful species were black-bellied whistling duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) and Meso-American slider (Trachemys venusta). People living within the wetland make more intensive use of wildlife. The main problems causing decreasing wildlife populations were water pollution, hunting practices and deforestation. Local communities were aware of the importance of wetlands, their degradation and the need to preserve them. More research focused on socioecological systems is required to address both the need for biodiversity conservation and food security. Also, good local management plans that incorporate current knowledge about key species have to be drawn up with the participation of government and scientific institutions, citizens and local stakeholders.