Earth Institute Contact: Paige West
Additional External Researchers:
Andrew Mack, firstname.lastname@example.org
Locations: Papua New Guinea
This proposal marks the transition from disparate studies by numerous loose collaborators to a focused, co-ordinated and holistic study of hunting in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The principal investigators and their collaborators have independently examined many facets of hunting from autecology of game species to the social aspects of conservation in PNG societies. But these have not been integrated and many key issues have not yet been examined. With this proposal we will make the transition from independent, investigator-driven studies to a collaborative and comprehensive study of a subject that impacts both the survival of many species in PNG and the survival and health of the majority of the human population in PNG.The project teams biological studies conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the anthropological studies of P. West, and the conservation monitoring studies of the Research and Conservation Foundation of Papua New Guinea (RCF). We will merge our data, develop innovative field methods to collect new data and integrate these components into a broad analysis of hunting. Later phases of the program will involve additional collaborators for expansion of the study. We will train a team of PNG research assistants who will form the core of continued data collection. The grant will support the integration of complex data sets under a geographic information system (GIS). These data will be used to develop and test predictive models of hunting and the expected changes in hunting pressure due to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. This model will enable us to propose management protocols that will have the most power to both conserve wildlife species in PNG and sustain the dietary needs of people dependent on wild game for protein.
Papua New Guinea is a 27 year old democracy occupying 462,840 km2 on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (Appendix 1 Map of New Guinea). For numerous socio-historic and political-economic reasons, many of the over 600 separate socio-linguistic groups still retain subsistence practices that rely on in situ resources (Knauft 1999). The government of PNG guarantees the maintenance of traditional land tenure regimes and over 85% of PNG's five million people rely heavily on their traditional lands for subsistence (Sekhran and Miller 1994). With the introduction of western medicine and other social changes that accompany modernization, the population of PNG is growing at about 2.3% per annum. The growing populace has rapidly changing expectations toward their quality of life and changing lifestyles that alter the nature and intensity of demands they place on their natural resources.The biota of the island of New Guinea is unique, with vertebrate endemism exceeding 70%. These animals are a critical resource for many of the people of PNG, who obtain more than half their dietary intake of protein from wild game (Morren 1986). Pig husbandry is extensive in PNG but traditional social articulations regulate pork intake in such a way as to make it contribute limited calories in daily diets. Wild game will be the main source of protein for most remote people in PNG for the foreseeable future. Thus if stocks of wild game are to be sustained, scientifically-based management protocols are needed. Yet the people of PNG have had no input from the scientific community on how to manage their game resources. One reason for this is the nearly complete absence of data on population demography and ecological requirements of most hunted species. The only significant studies to date have recently been sponsored by WCS, but further studies are needed. Particularly needed are studies that integrate biology with environmental anthropology that examines the factors that influence hunting and hunters.This study will initiate a long-term investigation of how many complex factors interact to affect one crucial form of resource use by Papua New Guineans-- hunting. We will simultaneously study the animals that are hunted, the hunters, and the social, ecological and political-economic matrix in which the hunters live. The resulting data and models will have direct conservation and management applications.
Background: The collaborators on this project, A. Mack, P. West, and RCF have worked together in various configurations for the past X years. This study will enable the field-testing of new methods and improvement of existing methodologies. Although components of the study overlap, we break the methodology in four components for clearer description below: Geographic Information System (GIS), hunting pressure, prey population biology, and anthropological.
Study Site: This study will take place in the Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area (CMWMA), a 2700 km2 area where the landowners collectively manage natural resource use. At present there is no formal management plan relevant to hunting and wildlife use; this study will help resolve this deficiency.The CMWMA encompasses three major villages set in a matrix of closed forests. Heaviest garden and land use occurs in a ring around these three villages, but isolated gardens are also scattered throughout the CMWMA, particularly at lower elevations. Two distinct ethnic groups live in the CMWMA, the Gimi in the villages of Herowana and Maimafu and the Pawaia in the village of Haia. The Gimi live in highly socially structured sedentary villages at elevations above 1400 m while the Pawaia live at lower elevations and range throughout the Pio-Tura region seasonally occupying multiple house sites in the forest. Ethnographically, the Gimi are known as a "Highlands Fringe society". They practice extensive sweet potato cultivation, animal husbandry, utilize wild game throughout the year but predominantly during rituals and ritual cycles, and have a Big Man socio-political organization. The Pawaia are a "Gulf" or "Costal society", who plant gardens and sago groves throughout their traditional lands, and who rely on wild game more extensively than the Gimi. The Gimi of Herowana and Maimafu have extensive coffee and peanut garden holdings which when harvested are sent to the regional capital for market. The Pawaia have much less market integration, as they have no cash crops.Comparison of wild game use between these two spatially proximate but culturally divergent groups is one strength of this study. Few studies have simultaneously used identical methods to study hunting by different cultural groups. By honing our methodologies with two such different groups, we will have a strong basis for expanding the study to other areas and people of PNG.We will select two clans from two communities-- Maimafu and Haia for intensive study.
Among all New Guinea peoples clans are comprised of extended family groups who trace decent through a common male ancestor and who share traditional tenure rights to adjacent lands. They are exogamous with marital and trade ties that reach throughout their home region and which connect them with multiple ethnic groups. Clans will be chosen for this study based on previous research that has determined economic differences between clans. One highly economically successful clan and one less economically successful clan will be chosen in each village. Background data on genealogy of the CMWMA clans is available through the studies of West (2000, 2002), Ellis (2002), and the RCF databases.
GIS- based data: Two broad categories of geo-referenced data are required: ecological (habitat) and social (land use and tenure). These will serve first to elucidate where, when and how often hunting occurs and secondly to help formulate viable conservation and management plans. Field collection of all geo-referenced data will be collected simultaneously by trained national field assistants. Social and ecological data layers will be added to the same remote images and data.Four recent multispectral Landsat-7 ETM+ images will be purchased in order to create a composite, cloud-free image and database for the study area. Each 30 X 30 m pixel has a set of these seven spectral variables associated with it that will be used to designate a vegetation type and land use category (Jensen 1996, Cihlar 2000, Trisurat et al. 2000). WCS has vegetation data from 11 ha of vegetation plots spanning lowland to montane forest in the WMA. These plots will be revisited and precise GPS co-ordinates obtained so the existing vegetation data can be used to formulate the first iteration of a vegetation model. Additional vegetation data will then be collected to improve the quality of the vegetation model. This will be done by first identifying priority areas for field work based on the satellite data and first iteration of the vegetation map. Trained field assistants will go to the designated areas to collect additional geo-referenced field data. The creation of a final vegetation map will be a long process involving much more fieldwork than can be done in this first year. One advantage of GIS-based vegetation modeling is that the quality of the map can be improved as more data become available. Thanks to the many months of vegetation analyses already completed in the CMWMA by WCS-PNG, we can jump start this aspect of the study.The second objective of GIS data acquisition will be mapping land-use. We will concentrate on the lands owned by the clans under scrutiny and map the locations of all houses as well as the size, age and type of house (e.g., primary residence, temporary garden shelter, etc.). On their lands we will also map gardens (including fallow gardens) and classify them by size, age and content. Major foot paths connecting gardens and villages will be mapped. We predict that the proximity to frequented areas, like gardens and trails, will partially determine hunting pressure.
Hunting pressure: Obtaining accurate data on hunting practices and yields poses many difficult problems. The mere presence of an observer can alter behavior of hunters and capture rates (Dwyer 1990). Offering remuneration for trophies can inspire cheating and lead to overestimates of hunting, whereas requesting data with no remuneration lacks incentive lead to underestimates of hunting. We will employ a combination of interviews, trophy collection and participant observation.Two research assistants will be on each team and there will be two teams operating independently in two villages. Each team will be comprised of one university-educated assistant and one local informer/translator. Each team will monitor the hunting take of two clans. Thus four clans will be studied in each village.Hunting capture will be assessed by the collection of skull trophies from the study clans. A nominal reward will be paid, about 20 cents -- enough to make it worthwhile to save skulls, but not sufficient incentive to supplement hunting for fiscal rewards. We will strive to have the participating clans submit skulls of all prey they consume. When possible we will examine and measure whole animals before they are consumed and a set of standard measurements will be made of skulls to assess sex and age.The hunters will be interviewed regarding each skull. They will be asked how the prey was captured (e.g., trap, hand capture, shot with bow and arrow, with a dog, etc.) and what the hunter was doing when the prey was encountered (e.g., hunting, commuting to garden, gardening, etc.). The interviewer will ask who was with the hunter when the prey was captured and with whom the meat was shared. For a randomly-selected subset of skulls of each species, the hunter will be asked to conduct the research assistant to the location where the prey was captured. There a GPS fix will be taken and standardized data on the habitat recorded. This will enable us to measure captures as a function of distance from houses, gardens, trails etc. as well as a function of habitat. The combination of interview and visiting capture sites will enable the investigators to identify any possible cases of deception on the part of hunters.
Prey population biology data: Critical biological data will be obtained directly from the prey brought in by hunters including reproductive status, age, sex, condition, and size. Because the study does not extend over more than a single annual cycle, we will not be able to assess many important cyclical variables. However, we plan to expand the study to a multi-year project once proper methodologies have been proven.Through collaboration with many researchers working in the CMWMA and PNG, we will obtain vital data on many important variables (Appendix P). We will have access to unpublished and published (e.g., (Johnson 2000, Sinclair 2000, Salas 2002, Stephens 2002) etc.) data on biology of bandicoots, echidnas, megapodes, arboreal marsupials, cassowaries and many other important prey species.Anthropological dataTwo main types of anthropological data will be obtained during this study: political-economic data and socio-historic transition data. These data will be combined with already extensive data sets collected by P. West and our colleagues at RCF.
Political-economic data: Many economic factors extrinsic to the hunters and their societies affect when, which and how much wildlife is consumed (Morren 1986). For example, the price of coffee on the international market affects how much coffee is planted and hence the amount of work required in the garden. Time spent tending coffee is not spent hunting and monies earned from coffee sales are often spent on prestige food items like lamb, beef, and fish. The ease with which these protein sources are obtained though cash transactions as opposed to the difficulty of hunting often influences decision making with regard to extractive behaviors and time allocation. The exploratory activities of a mining company around Maimafu both employed people and raised expectations that great wealth would be coming soon from the mine, both could be expected to decrease hunting pressure. Ecotourism is another important source of income for people in the CMWMA and income opportunities from labor associated with tourism may decrease hunting time and pressure. On the other hand, some social trends could increase hunting pressure. For example, when the PNG and local economies are strong bride prices go up. Since bride price often includes wild game and animal parts, hunting pressures could change with changing bride prices. Another pressure on game resources in the CMWMA is the rapid growth of population in Chimbu Province. Men from Chimbu target young men from Maimafu and Haia as desirable marriage partners for their daughters because the CMWMA is seen as having extensive resources. After successful marriages men bring extended family groups from Chimbu to "visit" their daughters in Maimafu and Haia and they exert hunting pressures while there. In order to collect data on negative and positive political-economic factors affecting hunting in Haia and Maimafu we will monitor certain commodities produced in the area, conduct structured in-depth interviews, conduct participant observation and semi structured interviews, and pilot several political-economic survey techniques. We will monitor the amount of coffee being produced by focal study clans and the amount of coffee being exported from village airstrips. Colleagues in the RCF are already collecting these data. Furthermore we will monitor the buying price of coffee in Goroka and on international markets, these data are readily available from the Coffee Board located in Goroka. Data will also be collected using structured in-depth interviews which will be tape recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using anthropological textual analysis techniques (see West 2000, chapter 2). We will conduct interviews with 10 men and 10 women in each village. As P.West has several yeas of experience with similar data collection methods in PNG, she will conduct these interviews. We will also conduct participant observation and semi structured non-taped interviews. The data collected through these methods will be written up daily by P. West, A. Mack, and the research assistants in the form of ethnographic field notes.Finally we will pilot three survey forms designed by P. West during the 2002/2003 academic year. The data collected using these forms will allow West to analyze the survey instruments for future projects.
Socio-historic transition data: Two types of socio-historic data are needed for this study, those having to do with Maimafu and Haia specifically and those having to do with other scales of influence. The country of Papua New Guinea in general and the area around Crater Mountain specifically has undergone rapid social transition over the past 30 years. In the rural villages Maimafu and Haia these years have brought the influx of whites, the introduction of the cash economy and cash cropping, the decline of the traditional exchange economy, the alteration of traditional belief systems and the practices they engendered due to the growth of Christianity, rural airstrips which link villages to the regional center of Goroka, and other various changes. Each of these socio-historic transitions has had effects on hunting practices.These external social factors have caused drastic changes in daily socio-cultural practices and beliefs in Maimafu and Haia. There has been a breakdown in traditional social controls related to mythology, male initiation ceremonies, and local sanctions on land use practices. These cultural transitions are tied to the use of game and thus to hunting practices.In order to collect data on these transitions we will administer life history interviews. We will choose two women and two men between the ages of 40 and 60 from each of the clans represented in our study. This technique will give us baseline data on the ways in which these transitions affected resource use patterns. P. West has already collected data on non-local scales of influence and she will analyze the new data with regard to her already existing data set.
Synthesis: The proximate goal of this study is to refine methodologies, train research assistants, and collect baseline data that will have immediate management applications. The ultimate goal is a synthesis incorporating many variables affecting hunting and survival of game species.
Staff: WCS-PNG will oversee the hiring of research assistants through its permanent office in Goroka. Assistants will be recent graduates of UPNG or UniTech with degrees in environmental science, biology or anthropology. We will train assistants prior to entering the field. Mack will accompany 2 teams to Haia for initial field training and West will take the other two to Maimafu. After training they will carry on independently, checking in to WCS-PNG via short-wave radio. West and Mack will make spot visits to both teams while they are in the field and then oversee data entry during the last week. Expansion of the studyWith proven methodologies and baseline data obtained with CERC support we will be able to broaden the scope of the project. We will expand data collection in the CMWMA and add two other field sites to the program: Mt Stolle and the Huon Peninsula. WCS and its collaborators have active programs and baseline data in both these areas. The expansion not only adds three more language groups and several more habitats, but also people with very different histories. Mt. Stolle people live more closely to traditional ways and rely heavily on wild game. On the Huon Peninsula, people have had much more education and contact with the western world and the cash economy. By adding such a range of places and people we will be able to improve the predictive power of resulting models for conservation across PNG.Leveraging future fundingWe are confident that we will have little difficulty leveraging continued and greater funding once we have proven results. Our main target is the NSF Biocomplexity Program which funds multidisciplinary teams to conduct comprehensive, integrated investigations of environmental systems... biocomplexity stresses the richness of biological systems (including human systems) and their capacity for adaptation and self-organizing behavior.... this competition emphasizes research with the following characteristics: (a) a high degree of interdisciplinarity; (b) a focus on complex environmental systems that include interactions of non-human biota or humans; and (c) a focus on systems with high potential for exhibiting non-linear behavior."
NSF Program Announcement: This research complies admirably to these criteria. Furthermore, the study has crucial implications for conservation, health and sustainable development. There is a broad array of potential donors who will be interested in all or components of the program.
Unlike many parts of the world where bush meat is an important economic commodity, in PNG it is a staple in the diet of for a majority of the rural people but relatively little is resold. As PNG's population grows it is unlikely many wild game species can persist in sustainable populations anywhere near humans; many species risk extirpation and extinction. As there are few large vertebrates in the Papuan fauna, those which are large enough to hunt are under tremendous pressure: cassowaries, echidnas, cuscuses, ringtails, bandicoots, tree kangaroos, and large rats. All are endemic to New Guinea and none are adequately studied to manage; intensive research is needed immediately. Conservation of these "flagship" species will ensure the conservation of a high proportion of the sympatric biodiversity. This project will not only gather the needed data, but also train and employ a cohort of PNG national conservation biologists. The management protocols suggested by the study can be immediately tested and revised because the work will occur in a management area. We feel this program will be the fastest and most promising path to sustainable wildlife management in a country that currently has no modern wildlife management planning.
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Cross Cutting Themes:
Food, Ecology and Nutrition
Department of Anthropology Barnard College 3009 Broadway New York, NY 10027