TitleLarge mammal use of protected and community-managed lands in a biodiversity hotspot
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsVelho N, Srinivasan U, Singh P, Laurance WF
Date Published04/2016

In large parts of the biodiversity-rich tropics, various forest governance regimes often coexist, ranging from governmental administration to highly decentralized community management. Two common forms of such governance are protected areas, and community lands open to limited resource extraction. We studied wildlife occurrences in the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, where the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary (EWS) is situated adjacent to community lands governed by the Bugun and Sherdukpen tribes. We conducted transect-based mammal sign surveys and camera trapping for mammals (>0.5 kg), and interviewed members of the resident tribes to understand their hunting practices and causes of wildlife declines. Interviews indicated hunting-mediated declines in the abundances of mammals such as the tiger Panthera tigris, gaur Bos gaurus and river otters Lutrogale and Aonyx species. Larger species such as B. gaurus were much more abundant within EWS than outside of it. Community-managed lands harbored smaller bodied species, including some of conservation importance such as the red panda Ailurus fulgens, clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa and golden cat Pardofelis temminckii. Our findings show that protected areas may have important non-substitutive values but adjoining community-managed lands may also have important conservation values for a different set of species.