October 7 (WNN) — A study published Thursday by Scientific Reports found that consumption of wild animal meat by communities in the Amazon region and sub-Saharan Africa results in lower greenhouse gas emissions than eating beef or poultry.
The consumption of wild meat by residents of communities in the Amazon jungle – primarily Brazil, Ecuador and Peru – and the Afrotropical forests covering much of Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, would cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 78 tonnes annually. data shown.
This is compared to the level of emissions if these communities depend on meat from livestock sources, including cows and chickens.
According to the researchers, hunting practices in these communities must be carefully monitored to realize any potential benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
“The estimates represent a considerable incentive for forest wildlife conservation as well as potential revenue for local communities,” study co-author Carlos Perez said in a press release.
“Our results clearly illustrate the potential value and importance of considering sustainable game hunting at the national and international level,” said Perez, professor of conservation science at the University of East Anglia in England.
Livestock and poultry have been linked to increased carbon dioxide, or CO2, and worsening climate change.
The findings of this study are based on an analysis of data from 49 studies conducted between 1973 and 2019 and included about 150,000 residents of Amazonian and Afrotropical forest sites, he and his colleagues said.
The researchers estimated each site’s annual wild meat consumption, equal to if wild meat was replaced with meat from livestock and increasing the amount of carbon emissions, they said.
If the communities included in the included studies ate wild meat, they would potentially release 78 tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2, emissions per year compared to beef consumption, the data showed.
The researchers said the consumption of wild meat by these communities would generate about 3.5 tonnes less in CO2 emissions annually, compared to the poultry they eat.
Furthermore, if the 49 Amazonian and Afrotropical forest sites included in the analysis continued their current consumption of wild meat instead of converting livestock to beef, they would generate the equivalent of $1 to $3 million in carbon credit sales, according to the researchers. can do.
The researchers said that by continuing with wild meat over poultry, they would earn $77,000 to $185,000 in carbon credits, which is a measurable savings when countries or companies reduce greenhouse gas emissions to offset their own emissions. reduce or avoid it, the researchers said.
However, the potential benefits of sustainable wild meat hunting and carbon credit schemes must be weighed against other factors, such as poaching and the spread of disease.
For example, overhunting could lead to more carbon emissions by destroying ecosystems, according to the researchers.
Furthermore, of the communities that consumed wild meat in the study, 43% of residents consumed less than the annual minimum rate of protein needed to prevent human malnutrition, he said.
The money generated from carbon credit schemes could be used to encourage conservation of tropical forest resources, educate hunters on how to monitor animal health, and ensure that hunting is sustainable and the use of wild meat, the researchers said. business clean.
Perez said, “Tropical pasture expansion poses a dual threat to ruminant livestock production to feed domestic meat consumption and export as we both lose carbon stocks from formerly old-growth forests … and a Powerful perennials generate methane pumps.”
“The subsistence hunting of game animals by local communities, which is widespread in tropical forests, needs to become a sustainable mechanism to help both justify and add economic value,” he said.