Community Wildlife Management in Central America: A regional review
This paper reports on the results of the work carried out in Central America and the Dominican Republic in early 1997 which aimed to produce a regional review of CWM and compile a generic database of initiatives and contacts, and a bibliography. ~Several socio-economic and political issues were taken into account during the assessment including the weak colonial ties and uneven distribution of native Americans in the region; the effects of recent structural adjustment, the reduction in government action, democratisation and globalisation; and the continuing rural poverty. Government involvement in CWM in the region is minimal, the initiatives relying greatly on international and national NGOs.~ 200 wildlife management initiatives were identified in the area, though only 52 of these were considered to be CWM initiatives involving the local communities. These are summarised and briefly described. The projects differ widely in the levels of management intensity, the types of community involvement, the incentives and benefits produced, and the levels of participation, funding and conflicts. However, there appears to be a general trend of local people beginning to take care of certain species, mainly in order to maintain access to selling for example as pets or use of their products. It is concluded that despite CWM playing a complementary role in the economy of many rural families in the region, it is hard to imagine a scenario where CWM would play a key role in rural development.