Comparing Logging and Subsistence Values of Plants Across an Indigenous Peoples’ Influenced Landscape



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Elsevier B.V.


The ecosystem services derived from tropical plants sustain local societies and make significant contributions to the global economy. Often many types of ecosystem services are derived from a single plant species, introducing the potential for tensions between forest users. Despite the potential for forest users having different approaches to how a plant is used, little has been done to understand how a plant species’ sustainability may be impacted by opposing views on their utility. In this paper, the inherent properties of plants were used to propose a conceptual approach for comparing the values of plant species from the perspectives of commercial loggers and indigenous peoples. Using the provisioning ecosystem services associated with a sample of plants from the Rupununi, Southern Guyana, commercial logging and subsistence use indices were developed to compare how plant species may be perceived by the two opposing views of tropical forest management. The analysis suggested that for more than 84% of plants the subsistence value indices were greater than the logging indices. This study suggested that by examining opposing approaches to forest management, and adopting indices to document how different users approach plants, forest managers can begin to answer questions on where in space, and for which species, conservation and management efforts should be pursued. The methods proposed in this paper can be used by indigenous peoples and their allies to make spatial optimization decisions on their use of forest resources for conservation and payment for ecosystem services initiatives such as REDD+.


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Logging, Guyana, Plants, Rupununi (Guyana), Conservation of natural resources, Biotic communities, Forests and forestry, Tropics, Ecosystem services

US National Science Foundation BE/CNH Grant 0837531


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