Nav: Home

The benefits that carnivorous animals bring to society are under-studied

October 24, 2019

Carnivores deliver important benefits for society, but it is their conflicts with humans that account for the majority of academic research publications, according to an international study led by the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), in which a researcher from the University of Granada (UGR) is participating.

With the general aim of determining the primary trends in global research dealing with human-carnivore relationships, the experts have reviewed more than 500 scientific studies published between 2000 and 2016 and have presented the results in the scientific journal Biological Conservation.

The researchers analysed the academic papers taking into account factors such as the temporal and geographical distribution of the studies, the relationships identified between carnivores and human beings, the different social actors involved, the measures taken to manage carnivores, the drivers of change in these relationships, and the type of methodology applied.

"The results have demonstrated that, globally, research on the relationship between humans and carnivores is deeply skewed, both geographically and taxonomically, and we have identified four important knowledge gaps," explains Jorge Lozano, primary author of the study and currently a researcher at the Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution of the UCM, following a postdoctoral stay at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany), where the study began.

Disseminating their benefits in the name of conservation

The first of the research gaps identified is that human-carnivore relationships are often framed in terms of conflict, with few studies on the ecosystem services (that is, the benefits) they provide--despite these benefits being detected. Among these benefits are pest control, waste and carcass disposal, and nature tourism.

A further research deficit was also found in the location of the extant studies, as the majority were conducted in the northern hemisphere, while carnivores also produce benefits and conflicts in the south. In addition, the studies tended to focus on large predators (bears, wolves, and big cats), while small and medium-sized carnivores received very little attention.

Finally, most of the research was carried out using natural science methods, yet social science methods are also necessary to fully understand the relationships between humans and carnivores.

"In general, if we are to foster the coexistence of humans and carnivores on a global level, more studies on small and medium-sized species are urgently needed, in all regions of the planet. Such studies need to describe the important benefits that carnivores provide to human society," observes Lozano.

Marcos Moleón Paiz, a researcher at the UGR's Department of Zoology and co-author of the study, points out that, in relation to conflicts, "research efforts should focus on assessing the effectiveness of the management measures adopted, because often they do not fulfil the required role or are not even evaluated. Yet, such measures often have negative effects on carnivorous populations, coupled with major economic expense for local communities."

In addition to the UGR and the UCM, the universities of Alcalá, Almería, and Miguel Hernández de Elche are also participating in the study, along with the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (CSIC-UIB) and institutions and research centres in Germany, Poland, South Africa, the United States, and the Netherlands.

"It is essential to carry out more, and better, research into the benefits that carnivores bring to society and to disseminate this knowledge so that the public understands they are necessary and supports their conservation," the authors conclude.

University of Granada

Related Relationships Articles:

Disruptions of salesperson-customer relationships. Is that always bad?
Implications from sales relationship disruptions are intricate and can be revitalizing.
Do open relationships really work?
Open relationships typically describe couples in which the partners have agreed on sexual activity with someone other than their primary romantic partner, while maintaining the couple bond.
The 7 types of sugar daddy relationships
University of Colorado Denver researcher looks inside 48 sugar daddy relationships to better understand the different types of dynamics, break down the typical stereotype(s) and better understand how these relationships work in the United States.
Positive relationships boost self-esteem, and vice versa
Does having close friends boost your self-esteem, or does having high self-esteem influence the quality of your friendships?
Strong family relationships may help with asthma outcomes for children
Positive family relationships might help youth to maintain good asthma management behaviors even in the face of difficult neighborhood conditions, according to a new Northwestern University study.
In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a 'type'
Researchers at the University of Toronto show that people do indeed have a 'type' when it comes to dating, and that despite best intentions to date outside that type -- for example, after a bad relationship -- some will gravitate to similar partners.
Advancing dementia and its effect on care home relationships
New research published today in the journal Dementia by researchers from the University of Chichester focuses on the effects of behavioral change due to dementia in a residential care home setting.
Passion trumps love for sex in relationships
When women distinguish between sex and the relational and emotional aspects of a relationship, this determines how often couples in long-term relationships have sex.
The interplay between relationships, stress, and sleep
A new Personal Relationships study documents how the quality of a person's romantic relationship and the life stress he or she experiences at two key points in early adulthood (at age 23 and 32) are related to sleep quality and quantity in middle adulthood (at age 37).
From asexuality to heteroflexibility: New openness about intimate relationships
The 21st century has ushered in a ''quiet revolution'' in the diversity of intimate relationships, and a leading scholar says the scale and pace of this social transformation warrants a ''reboot'' of relationship studies.
More Relationships News and Relationships Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#542 Climate Doomsday
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab