Understanding the distribution of bushmeat hunting effort across landscapes by testing hypotheses about human foraging

Jedediah F. Brodie, Jose M.V. Fragoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Mitigating the massive impacts of defaunation on natural ecosystems requires understanding and predicting hunting effort across the landscape. But such understanding has been hindered by the difficulty of assessing the movement patterns of hunters in thick forests and across complex terrain. We statistically tested hypotheses about the spatial distribution of hunting with circuit theory and structural equation models. We used a data set of >7000 known kill locations in Guyana and hunter movement models to test these methods. Comparing models with different resistance layers (i.e., different estimates of how terrain and land cover influence human movement speed) showed that rivers, on average, limited movement rather than serving as transport arteries. Moreover, far more kills occurred close to villages than in remote areas. This, combined with the lack of support for structural equation models that included latent terms for prey depletion driven by past overhunting, suggests that kill locations in this system tended to be driven by where hunters were currently foraging rather than by influences of historical harvest. These analyses are generalizable to a variety of ecosystems, species, and data types, providing a powerful way of enhancing maps and predictions of hunting effort across complex landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-1018
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • cacería sustentable
  • carne silvestre
  • caza
  • community-based management
  • cosecha
  • defaunación
  • defaunation
  • harvest
  • hunting
  • manejo basado en la comunidad
  • manejo sustentable
  • spiritual sites
  • subsistence
  • subsistencia
  • sustainable hunting
  • traditional management
  • wild meat


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