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, 11 (4), e0150337

Local Perspectives on Environmental Insecurity and Its Influence on Illegal Biodiversity Exploitation


Local Perspectives on Environmental Insecurity and Its Influence on Illegal Biodiversity Exploitation

Meredith L Gore et al. PLoS One.


Environmental insecurity is a source and outcome of biodiversity declines and social conflict. One challenge to scaling insecurity reduction policies is that empirical evidence about local attitudes is overwhelmingly missing. We set three objectives: determine how local people rank risk associated with different sources of environmental insecurity; assess perceptions of environmental insecurity, biodiversity exploitation, myths of nature and risk management preferences; and explore relationships between perceptions and biodiversity exploitation. We conducted interviews (N = 88) with residents of Madagascar's Torotorofotsy Protected Area, 2014. Risk perceptions had a moderate effect on perceptions of environmental insecurity. We found no effects of environmental insecurity on biodiversity exploitation. Results offer one if not the first exploration of local perceptions of illegal biodiversity exploitation and environmental security. Local people's perception of risk seriousness associated with illegal biodiversity exploitation such as lemur hunting (low overall) may not reflect perceptions of policy-makers (considered to be high). Discord is a key entry point for attention.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Map of Torotorofotsy Protected Area, our study site within east central Madagascar.
Points denote 11 villages visited for interviews. Participants from two villages (Andasitsimanga and Menalamba Analakely) were interviewed in Menalamba village. Menalamba, denoted by a single point on the map, encompasses four smaller subvillages of a larger jurisdictional village that were visited on separate days.
Fig 2
Fig 2. Local perceptions of illegal biodiversity exploitation rates.
Error bars denote standard error. All activities are illegal under the rule of law in Madagascar.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Proportion of participants (n = 88) agreeing with four risk management responses to environmental insecurity, Torotorofotsy, Madagascar, May 2014.

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The authors have no support or funding to report.

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