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The Relation Between Income and Hunting in Tropical Forests: an Economic Experiment in the Field

Anders H Sirén, University of Turku
Juan Camilo Cardenas, Universidad de los Andes
José D Machoa, Tayak Yuyayta Jatachik Sarayaku Runakuna Tantanakuy

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Abstract

Hunting in tropical forests is both a major cause of biodiversity loss and an important food source for millions of people. A question with important policy implications is how changes in income level affect how much people hunt. This study, which was carried out in an indigenous community in the Amazon, explored the relation between income and consumption of wild meat using an economic experiment in the form of a lottery, and involved the local people, not only as experimental subjects, but also in the interpretation of results. The results suggested that an increase in steady employment, rather than in income alone, may lead to the substitution of non-hunted foods for wild meat. The kind of social learning that participation in this type of economic experiment implies may potentially affect the way people manage resources in real life.

Key words

Amazon; economic development; experimental economics; hunting; income; lottery; participatory research; tropical forest; wild meat
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087