Attitudes and knowledge of shade-coffee farmers towards vertebrates and their ecological functions.
Lopez-del-Toro, Paulina, Andresen, Ellen, Barraza, Laura and Estrada, Alejandro 2009, Attitudes and knowledge of shade-coffee farmers towards vertebrates and their ecological functions., Tropical conservation science, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 299-318.
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The purpose of this study was to assess farmers’ attitudes, as well as perceptions and knowledge that shape those attitudes, toward the ecological role of vertebrates inhabiting shaded-coffee farms. We also aimed to determine whether differences existed among two groups of farmers: one that had attended environmental education workshops, and one that had not. We conducted 36 oral interviews of farmers in the region of Cuetzalan, Mexico. All farmers were members of an important regional cooperative, Tosepan Titataniske. In general, farmers’ attitudes towards birds were positive. Snakes were perceived as useful but dangerous animals. Attitudes towards nonflying mammals were mostly indifferent. Bats were poorly understood and badly perceived. Seed dispersal was perceived as an important ecological function performed by animals. Pollination was also perceived as important, but to a lesser degree. Knowledge about ecological functions was high for seed dispersal, and low for pollination. We found a positive correlation between attendance of educational workshops and the presence of “environmentally-friendly” attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge. However, a cause-effect relationship could not be clearly established. We suggest that environmental education programs include the objective of increasing the knowledge of people about the ecological functions played by different groups of animals that live in agroecosystems. Particular efforts should be directed toward improving the way in which certain non-charismatic groups of animals, such as bats, are perceived.
Open access paper
Field of Research
050102 Ecosystem Function 050203 Environmental Education and Extension
Socio Economic Objective
970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
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