Regulated access to wild climbers has enhanced food security and minimized use of plastics by front line households at a premier African protected area
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The amount of food harvested, processed and stored by households determines food availability—a key dimension to food security. In developing countries,front line households around protected areas harvest wild climbers for making food security products. When access to the wild climbers is denied, households adapt by using other available alternatives such as plastics with potential con-sequences to biodiversity. The relationships between harvesting wild climber sand: (a) food availability, (b) plastic use, and (c) wild climber populations have rarely been investigated. We interviewed 119 front line households adjacent toBwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda to evaluate the relationships between household access to wild climbers and: (a) plastic use and (b) food security. We used forest surveys to assess the impact of harvest on population structure of three mostly utilized wild climbers. The front line households used more wild climber products (65.02%) than plastics (34.97%). Fifteen wild climbers were harvested for food security products. Two of these;Dracaenalaxissima and Smilax anceps depicted size class distributions similar to those of healthy sustainable plant populations, while Monanthotaxis littoralis depicteda size class distribution of unsustainably harvested plant populations. We recommend increased access to wild climbers for enhancing food security and minimizing use of plastics.
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