Paul Barnes
Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology
PhD Research

Cultural change and sustainability of subsistence hunting of long beaked echidnas and other large vertebrates in Papua

The environmental impact of natural resource extraction in New Guinea is currently affected by rapid population growth and cultural change. This is altering the social, political and economic circumstances of natural resource users and causing breakdown of traditional environmental taboos and management practices. The Cyclops Mountains in northern Papua constitute the entire range of Zaglossus attenboroughi (Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna), a Critically Endangered sacred liminal animal. Hunting and deforestation by indigenous communities and recent settlers is threatening ecosystems and human livelihoods in the area. This interdisciplinary study attempts to assess the sustainability of hunting in The Cyclops Mountains through a social-ecological systems based approach, drawing on both social and biological understanding and methods to provide a more comprehensive integrated explanation of natural resource use. Novel methods will be used to understand the population status and trends of hunted species and socioeconomic assessments will contribute to understanding drivers of species loss and unsustainable forest resource extraction. These approaches will permit bioeconomic modelling which will be used to assess the sustainability of current and predicted future hunting under different scenarios. Finally, wider extrapolations will be made identifying correlates of faunal vulnerability and resilience in response to extrinsic pressures in New Guinea’s tropical forests."
Katherine Homewood
Sam Turvey
Conservation Science
Imperial College London
Environmental Sciences
University of Brighton
Work Experience
Field Ecologist
FOA Ecology
Ecological Consultant
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