Syracuse University help rural Guyanese assess true land worth

Grounded In Facts- Syracuse University help rural Guyanese assess true land worth 

Demerara Waves- March 6, 2012

For nine months, Anthony Cummings walked sections of forest in Southwest Guyana making notes about the trees there, including fruit-bearing trees that support wildlife which is, in turn, a key food source for native populations. These trees are significant to indigenous populations for other, traditional uses, such providing material for a bows and arrows. And, raising significant concerns among the natives, these trees are of increasing interest to loggers who have begun operations in the region.

Cummings, a Maxwell doctoral student in geography, was collecting data for Project Fauna, a study funded by the National Science Foundation (one of the largest NSF-funded studies of its kind). Project Fauna is a six-year interdisciplinary project that includes data collection in 23 communities across 20,000 square miles of Guyana’s North Rupununi region. Researchers involved in the study represent at least 10 academic institutions on two continents.

“We were trying to learn how the indigenous people were impacting their environment and, in turn, how the environment was impacting their culture,” says Jane Read, associate professor of geography and one of the investigators on the project. She recruited Cummings, originally fromGuyana, to assist.   [more]

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