Poor convergence between local traditional farmers and conservationists on which species to protect locally

Ulicsni, Viktor [Ulicsni, Viktor (etnozoológia, zoo...), szerző]; Molnár, Zsolt [Molnár, Zsolt (Botanika), szerző] Ökológiai és Botanikai Intézet (HUN-REN ÖK); Szentirmai, István; Babai, Dániel [Babai, Dániel (Etnobotanika, hag...), szerző]

Angol nyelvű Szakcikk (Folyóiratcikk) Tudományos
  • SJR Scopus - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics: D1
Locals engaged in traditional farming and possessing traditional ecological knowledge consider certain species worthy of protection, as do official nature conservationists, although the sets of taxa may not be identical. Exploring the relationship between the two sets of taxa could bring many practical benefits, yet the literature on this subject is scarce. For more efficient conservation and better engagement and knowledge co‐production with locals, it is necessary to understand the principles, preferences and worldviews of the two knowledge systems, and the drivers behind the choices of which animal species to protect. We examined which animal species traditional farmers and conservationists wish to protect, and why. We also examined whether there is a correlation between the extent of farmers' ecological knowledge and the number of species they regard as needing protection. In the case of the species that conservationists consider most in need of protection, we also enquired how knowledgeable local farmers are about these species. Our research was carried out in two adjacent protected sites in Central Europe along the Slovenian‐Hungarian border. We conducted 20 structured interviews with traditional farmers at each of the two sites (40 altogether), and 23 with local conservationists. Both conservationists and local farmers predominantly mentioned the protection of species that do not provide a tangible economic benefit to farmers and that show a declining population trend. Local farmers with greater species knowledge did not know significantly more than those with less knowledge about the species to be protected, nor did they list more legally protected species. The preliminary assumption of the conservationists was that the locals knew the species and listed the ones to be protected for essentially functional reasons (e.g. usefulness). By contrast, it was found that many more aspects (e.g. population trends, appearance) also had a significant impact. Once the boundaries between the two knowledge systems are removed, collaboration between the stakeholder groups can facilitate the protection of natural assets and local communities. We consider it the responsibility of conservationists (together with ethnoecologists and other researchers) to ensure that these preferences are properly understood for the benefit of conservation and local communities.
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2024-07-23 19:54