Campesino hunting and conservation in Latin America Academic Article uri icon


  • Hunting presents a paradox for biodiversity conservation. It is both a problem and a solution to species declines and poverty. Yet, conservation scientists hold different assumptions about the significance and sustainability of hunting based on the cultures and identities of hunters. In Latin America, conservationists largely sort hunters as either indigenous or campesino. Indigenous hunters are often characterized as culturally driven stewards of wildlife sustainability. Campesino hunters, by contrast, are described as peasants-cultureless, uneducated, and uncaring toward wildlife sustainability. Although such ethnically fueled hunting discourse promotes hunting research, campesino hunters remain underrepresented in most comparative hunting reviews. Moreover, there are no targeted syntheses on the current state of knowledge about campesino hunting, nothing to guide conservation research and practice with and for the largest group of hunters in Latin America. We reviewed 334 articles published from 1937 to 2018 in English (55%) and Spanish (45%)-mostly published in 145 peer-reviewed journals-on the meanings, motivations, and sustainability of campesino hunting in Latin America. Although studies spanned 17 countries, 7 ecosystems, and >75 indigenous and nonindigenous demographics in 30 research contexts, they predominantly focused on nonindigenous campesinos for species-specific conservation and protected area management in tropical broadleaf forests of Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. Authors used 12 methods to collect campesino hunting data, primarily interviews, surveys, and questionnaires, and drew from 10 local and traditional knowledge themes about wildlife trends and uses. Eighteen drivers, 14 constraints, and 10 conflicts-mainly subsistence, income, ethics, regulations, and crop or livestock protection-shaped whether campesino hunters pursued 799 species, 70% of which were least concern species. Yet, only 25 studies (8%) empirically assessed sustainability. Our results show the need for increased interdisciplinary and geographic engagement with campesino hunting across Latin America.

altmetric score

  • 23.95

author list (cited authors)

  • Petriello, M. A., & Stronza, A. L.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • September 2019