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Quantifying local ecological knowledge to model historical abundance of long-lived, heavily-exploited fauna
Nemer Narchi
Michelle María Early Capistrán
Elena Solana Arellano
F. Alberto Abreu-Grobois
Gerardo Garibay-Melo
Jeffrey Seminoff
Volker Koch
Andrea Saenz-Arroyo
Acceso Abierto
Sociología -- Aspectos Ambientales
Ecología Humana
Desarrollo Sustentable -- Aspectos Sociales
Ecología -- Aspectos Políticos
Deriving robust historical population trends for long-lived species subject to human exploitation is challenging in scenarios where long-term scientific data are scarce or unavailable, as often occurs for species affected by small-scale fisheries and subsistence hunting. The importance of Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) in data-poor scenarios is increasingly recognized in conservation, both in terms of uncovering historical trends and for engaging community stewardship of historic information. Building on previous work in marine historical ecology and local ecological knowledge, we propose a mixed socio-ecological framework to reliably document and quantify LEK to reconstruct historical population trends. Our method can be adapted by interdisciplinary teams to study various long-lived taxa with a history of human use. We demonstrate the validity of our approach by reconstructing long-term abundance data for the heavily-exploited East Pacific green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Baja California, Mexico, which was driven to near extinction by a largely unregulated fishery from the early 1950s to the 1980s. No scientific baseline abundance data were available for this time-frame because recent biological surveys started in 1995 after all green turtle fisheries in the area were closed. To fill this data gap, we documented LEK among local fishers using ethnographic methods and obtained verified, qualitative data to understand the socio-environmental complexity of the green turtle fishery. We then established an iterative framework to synthesize and quantify LEK using generalized linear models (GLMs) and nonlinear regression (NLR) to generate a standardized, LEK-derived catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) time-series. CPUE is an index of abundance that is compatible with contemporary scientific survey data. We confirmed the accuracy of LEK-derived CPUE estimates via comparisons with fisheries statistics available for 1962–1982. We then modeled LEK-derived abundance trends prior to 1995 using NLR. Our model established baseline abundance and described historical declines, revealing that the most critical (exponential) decline occurred between 1960 and 1980. This robust integration of LEK data with ecological science is of critical value for conservation and management, as it contributes to a holistic view of a species’ historic and contemporary conservation status.
Early-Capistrán, M.M., Solana-Arellano, E., Abreu-Grobois, A.F., Narchi, N.E., Garibay-Melo, G., Seminoff, J.A., Koch, V., and Saenz-Arroyo, A. (2020). “Quantifying local ecological knowledge to odel historical abundance of long-lived, heavily-exploi
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Appears in Collections:Estudios socioambientales: Vulnerabilidad, riesgo y etnoecología

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