From the forest to the stomach: Bushmeat consumption from rural to urban settings in Central Africa

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Non-timber forest products are not used solely by people living in remote rural villages. They are also important components of urban livelihoods, in both the developing and developed world. This chapter illustrates this through examination of the urban demand for bushmeat in Central Africa. We consider the drivers of the trade and consumer preferences, as well as whether the offtake is sustainable. Overall, there is extensive trade with bushmeat being supplied to urban consumers in a variety of different markets. There is marked preference for certain species, independent of the availability or price of domestic alternatives. While trade in some species, especially large and long-lived ones, is unsustainable, trade in others has persisted for decades and there is little evidence of dwindling supply. Policy and management recommendations are complex because of the interplay of cultural preferences evolving within an urbanising population.

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