Identifying the drivers of bushmeat consumption and hunting is important for informing conservation strategies and recognizing challenges to human food security. However, studies often neglect the importance of landscape context, which can influence bushmeat supply and demand.
By quantifying bushmeat consumption and hunting in 262 households in a post-frontier region in Amazonia, the authors test the hypothesis that bushmeat consumption and hunting are positively associated with two landscape characteristics: (1) forest cover, which has been shown to define game availability; and (2) remoteness, which is related to limited access to marketed meat.
The authors found that bushmeat consumption was widespread but more likely in remote forested areas. Hunting was more likely in more forested areas, especially nearer to urban centres.
These findings suggest that bushmeat remains an important food source even in heavily altered forest regions, and that landscape context is an important determinant of bushmeat consumption and hunting. Although people living in remote, forested areas are likely to be the most dependent on wild species, those living in more populous, peri-urban areas are likely the actors contributing most to total hunting effort, due to a higher probability of hunting combined with higher human population densities.
This finding undermines the assumption that rural–urban migration in the tropics will deliver a much-needed reprieve for many overhunted species.