Wildlife and human nutrition

Photo credit: CIFOR

A mother and her children on the road to Kinsagani, Democratic Republic of Congo. A new study has found a link between availability of bushmeat and child stunting in the Congo Basin. Ollivier Girard/CIFOR photo

Link between wildlife, human nutrition is food for thought for development in Africa


BOGOR, Indonesia—A new study has found for the first time a link between the availability of wild meat and human malnutrition, and calls for a better balance between conservation and development objectives in the management of bushmeat.

A rapid increase in the hunting of wild animals has raised concerns of “empty forests” — a hypothetical scenario where forests are void of large mammal species — and therefore “empty stomachs” in communities that depend on bushmeat for nutrition.

But the new research finds that things aren’t always that simple.

“What we’ve found is evidence that some areas in the central African region seem to have achieved a good balance between the amount of food available in terms of wild meat and nutrition,” according to John E. Fa, the lead author of the study, a visiting professor at Imperial College London and Senior Research Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The study also involved collaboration from spatial modelers at the Universidad de Málaga in Spain.

Read the full article: CIFOR


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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