Research

We work at the interdisciplinary bridge between ecology, anthropology, and socioeconomics, with a focus on the wildlife economy of the Amazon.

Our work is community-based and community-driven. 

where we work

Most of our work is focused on the Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area (MKRCA) in the Peruvian Amazon. The region lies in the Napo-Putumayo corridor, northeast of the city of Iquitos, the capital of the Department of Loreto in Peru. The MKRCA is almost one million acres of primary rainforest that makes up part of the ancestral lands of the Maijuna people. The region holds all of the megadiversity of the Amazon Rainforest. 

The MKRCA is collaboratively managed between the regional goverment of Loreto and the Maijuna. The Maijuna retain the rights to extract resources in the MKRCA and in their titled lands surrounding the region. 

The MKRCA is currently under siege from a proposed highway development project, which would bisect the conservation area and Maijuna ancestral lands. The highway would facilitate colonization, deforestation, and destruction of the Maijuna culture and the lands they depend upon. Most recently, our attention has focused on understanding sustainability in this region to demonstrate that the Maijuna use their natural resources in a sustainable manner in accordance with Maijuna traditional culture. 

We stand with the Maijuna against the construction of this proposed highway.

The Maijuna

The Maijuna are one of the most vulnerable Indigenous groups in Peru, with fewer than 600 individuals remaining in four communities in the Amazon. The Maijuna have a long history of exploitation from outsiders, and were enslaved for almost a century for labor and the extraction of natural resources from their ancestral lands.

Most recently, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Maijuna weathered an influx of loggers to their lands. The loggers made camps in remote regions of the forest, floating enormous trees down the river. At camp, the loggers hunted for food and, over the course of a decade, drove all of the local mammal and game bird species locally extinct. The Maijuna have experienced the lack of food security that comes from unsustainable resource extraction. They eventually were able to kick out the loggers and formed an Indigenous Federation, FECONAMAI, in 2008 which pushed for the establishment of the MKRCA. 

The Maijuna are committed to the conservation of their ancestral lands, the MKRCA, and their traditional culture. 

Brian lived with the Maijuna for more than a year in 2018, but is constantly examining his research, and his own positionality in the community, for biases and ethical engagement. Most of our research in collaboration with the Maijuna is on hunting practices and hunter movement. Since the Maijuna are legally able to hunt in this region, the data presented on this site (and in publications) does not put the Maijuna at risk.

Check out my current projects below!

 Current projects

PUBLICATIONS

Goodale, A., Gilmore, M. P., & Griffiths, B. M. In Press. 21st-century stewardship: Infusing environmental stewardship education with global citizenship to further its relevance in an increasingly globalized society. Environmental Education Research.


Arruda, L. G. L., Hermance, P., Cox, J., Benson, E., Griffiths, B. M. … & Papettas, C. 2024. Planetary health and intercultural learning in a residential experience with K-12 teachers. In Growing green hearts: Inspiring the next generation with planetary health education. The Planetary Health Alliance. 


Griffiths, B. M., Griffiths, L. G., Jin, Y., & Gilmore, M. P. 2024. Drivers of geophagy of the red brocket deer (Mazama americana) at Amazonian interior forest mineral licks. Ecology and Evolution. 


Duvall, E., Griffiths, B. M., Abraham, A., & Clauss, M. 2023. Allometry of sodium requirements and mineral lick use among herbivorous mammals. Oikos. 


Griffiths, B. M., Gilmore, M. P., & Bowler, M. 2023. Hunter territoriality creates refuges for threatened primates. Environmental Conservation, 50:2, 93-98.

 

Griffiths, B. M., Gonzales, T., & Gilmore, M. P. 2023. Spatiotemporal variation in hunting in a riverine Indigenous community in the Amazon. Biodiversity and Conservation, 32, 1005-1018.

 

Griffiths, B. M., Jin, Y., Griffiths, L., & Gilmore, M. P. 2022. Physical, landscape, and chemical properties of natural interior forest Amazonian mineral licks. Environmental Geochemistry and Health.

 

Griffiths, B. M.  & Gilmore, M. P. 2022. Differential use of game species in an Indigenous Amazonian community: Navigating economics, subsistence, and social norms. Journal of Ethnobiology, 42:3, 1-12.

 

Stewart, H., Tighe, E., & Griffiths, B. M. 2022. Patterns of visitation of the Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) at Amazonian mineral licks. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 68:25. 

 

Griffiths, B. M., Bowler, M., Kolowski, J., Stabach, J., Benson, E. L. & Gilmore, M. P. 2022. Revisiting optimal foraging theory (OFT) in a changing Amazon: Implications for conservation and management. Human Ecology.

 

Griffiths, B. M., Kolowski, J., Bowler, M., Gilmore, M. P., Lewis, F., Benson, E., & Stabach, J. 2021. Assessing the accuracy of distance- and interview-based measures of hunting pressure. Conservation Science and Practice, e592.

 

Griffiths, B. M., Cooper, W. J., Bowler, M., Gilmore, M. P., & Luther, D. 2021. Dissimilarities in species assemblages among Amazonian mineral licks. BioTropica.

 

Griffiths, B. M., Bowler, M., Gilmore, M. P., & Luther, D. 2020. Temporal patterns in visitation of mammals and birds at mineral licks in the Peruvian Amazon. Ecology and Evolution, 10:24.

 

Gilmore, M. P., Griffiths, B. M., & Bowler, M. 2020. The socio-cultural significance of mineral licks to the Maijuna of the Peruvian Amazon: implications for the sustainable management of hunting. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 16:1, 1-10.

 

Griffiths, B. M., Gilmore, M. P., & Bowler, M. 2020. Predation of a Brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis) by an ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at a mineral lick in the Peruvian Amazon. Food Webs, 24, e148.

 

Bowler, M., Griffiths, B. M., Gilmore, M. P., Wingfield, A., & Recharte, M. 2018. Potentially infanticidal behavior in the Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis). Acta Ethologica, 1–5.


Student author

READ ABOUT OUR WORK