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    Using indigenous knowledge to link land cover mapping with land use in the Venezuelan Amazon.

    Olivero, J, Ferri, F, Acevedo, P, Lobo, J, Fa, JE and Real, R (2016) Using indigenous knowledge to link land cover mapping with land use in the Venezuelan Amazon. Revista de Biología Tropical / International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation, 64 (4). pp. 1661-1682. ISSN 2215-2075


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    Remote sensing and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) can be combined to advance conservation of remote tropical regions, e.g. Amazonia, where intensive in situ surveys are often not possible. Integrating TEK into monitoring and management of these areas allows for community participation, as well as for offering novel insights into sustainable resource use. In this study, we developed a 250-m-resolution land-cover map of the western Guyana Shield (Venezuela) based on remote sensing, and used TEK to validate its relevance for indigenous livelihoods and land uses. We first employed a hyper-temporal remotely sensed vegetation index to derive a land classification system. During a 1,300-km, 8-day fluvial expedition in roadless areas in the Amazonas State (Venezuela), we visited six indigenous communities who provided geo-referenced data on hunting, fishing and farming activities. We overlaid these TEK data onto the land classification map, to link land classes with indigenous use. Several classes were significantly connected with agriculture, fishing, overall hunting, and more specifically the hunting of primates, red brocket deer, black agouti, and white-lipped peccary. We then characterized land classes using greenness and topo-hydrological information, and proposed 12 land-cover types, grouped into five main landscapes: 1) water bodies; 2) open lands/forest edges; 3) evergreen forests; 4) submontane semideciduous forests, and 5) cloud forests. Our results show that TEK-based approaches can serve as a basis for validating the livelihood relevance of landscapes in high-value conservation areas, which can form the basis for furthering the management of natural resources in these regions.

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