Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 1343–1354 | Cite as

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

  • Rosa María González-Marín
  • Patricia Moreno-Casasola
  • Alejandro Antonio Castro-Luna
  • Alicia Castillo
Original Article


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.


Hunting Wetland loss Management Rural areas Traditional use Veracruz 



For their kindness and help in preparing this study, we thank the residents of the communities where we conducted the interviews. A. Juárez introduced us to the communities. B. Delfosse edited the English version of this manuscript. This study was made possible by a Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia doctoral fellowship (46372) awarded to the first author and funding from the International Tropical Timber Organization PD 349/05 Rev.2 (F) and PD RED-PD 045/11 Rev.2 (M), and from the Instituto de Ecología A.C. (902-17). We thank two anonymous reviewers and editors for their valuable comments on the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10113_2016_955_MOESM1_ESM.doc (81 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 81 kb)
10113_2016_955_MOESM2_ESM.doc (120 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 120 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa María González-Marín
    • 1
  • Patricia Moreno-Casasola
    • 2
  • Alejandro Antonio Castro-Luna
    • 1
  • Alicia Castillo
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de Biotecnología y Ecología Aplicada (INBIOTECA)Universidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico
  2. 2.Red de Ecología FuncionalInstituto de EcologíaXalapaMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y SustentabilidadUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico

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