Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Hunting helps lizard populations

  • Written by  Harley Rustad
  • Published in Wildlife
Hunting helps lizard populations Shutterstock
01 Dec
2013
Hunting by Aboriginals in Australia’s Western Desert can actually increase the populations of the hunted animals, according to a recent study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B

The Martu people use a technique known as fire-stick farming, lighting small fires to flush animals from the grass to make them easier to hunt. The technique creates a heterogeneous mosaic of regrowth that enhances the habitat by offering a range of different microhabitats and stimulating plant growth. It also reduces the intensity and spread of lightning fires.

The study’s authors found that the population of monitor lizards was nearly double in the areas in which hunting had taken place compared to unhunted areas. The authors suggest that the study provides insights into the co-evolution of animals and humans, and the maintenance of animal communities through ecosystem engineering. It also provides evidence that links the decline and extinction of numerous desert species to the loss of traditional economies and social structures of Aboriginal communities during the middle of the 20th century.

‘Our results show that humans can have positive impacts on other species without the need for policies of conservation and resource management,’ said one of the study’s authors, Rebecca Bird. ‘In the case of indigenous communities, the everyday practice of subsistence might be just as effective at maintaining biodiversity as the activities of other organisms.’

This story was published in the December 2013 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Geophoto

Mountains provide a dramatic sight at the best of times,…

Wildlife

A surge in reports of dead hares has resulted in…

Oceans

Four scientists have banded together to make the case against the farming of octopuses, arguing…

Climate

As planetary oil consumption hits the 100-million-barrel mark Marco Magrini…

Oceans

A ship that ran aground early in February has been…

Wildlife

Two whale populations on either side of the African continent…

Geophoto

March traditionally heralds the beginning of spring, a time of…

Wildlife

An innovative project to utilise Laos’ elephant experts in service…

Polar

Despite common belief that Antarctica is vastly uninhabited, humans are…

Wildlife

Javan rhinos survived the recent Krakatoa tsunami, but the species…

Energy

As the world turns away from fossil fuels, one question…

Geophoto

The winners of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2018…

Climate

New legislation in Florida aims to solve various environmental issues,…

Polar

The world’s magnetic model is getting an early update, as…

Climate

Marco Magrini looks at the financial pressures spilling out into the…

Geophoto

Few sights are more dramatic than a star-filled sky at…

Polar

A region of Antarctica previously known for relative stability is…

Tectonics

Everything we thought we knew about eruptions could be wrong

Oceans

Sea levels are rising across the globe, but along the…

Polar

Seismometers buried in the Ross Ice Shelf have revealed that…