The Amazon basin is widely recognized for its high biological and cultural diversity, enabling the provision of many ecosystem services. This study explores social perceptions of some of the features of biodiversity and ecosystem services in a tropical forest in Sangay Parish, Ecuador. Following a survey of residents, we identified three groups whose perceptions vary in relation to socioeconomic characteristics, cultural backgrounds, lifestyles, and the benefits obtained from the Sangay forest. Mestizo professionals, with a better socioeconomic situation, identify more regulation and cultural services; Shuar farmers have a comprehensive knowledge of biodiversity features and rely on provisioning services; and Shuar gatherers consume more forest products but are the least likely to formally recognize ecosystem services. We emphasize the importance of identifying social groups within a population and understanding their particular characteristics and perspectives before developing conservation and land use planning policies.
Human Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 27, 2017
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