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Understanding environmental change and its consequences for livelihoods and biodiversity in Guyana

Hayes, William (2024) Understanding environmental change and its consequences for livelihoods and biodiversity in Guyana. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.105293) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:105293)

Language: English

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Tropical regions, rich in ecological diversity, face high rates of environmental and climate change, profoundly impacting both ecosystems and people. However, research addressing these challenges within the globally important Guiana Shield region in the northern Amazon biome remains scarce. This thesis seeks a multidisciplinary understanding of the effects of various drivers of environmental change for biodiversity and local people in the country of Guyana, South America. By combining spatial, ecological, and social approaches, this work bridges knowledge gaps, offering broad insights, and contributing to conservation science and policy. Specifically, this thesis identifies regions and biodiversity most vulnerable to deforestation, particularly in northwest Guyana. The findings strongly indicate that expanding protected areas, or targeted prioritisation of conservation areas would benefit biodiversity and reduce deforestation. This set of work also shows how biodiversity respond to varying levels of human settlement intensity, with impacts felt more acutely in previously forested areas than in savanna areas. Lastly, this research enhances our understanding of factors that determine community livelihood vulnerability, in particular showing the impacts of a changing climate on subsistence livelihoods, and further highlights the importance of factors such as livelihood options, flooding and access to healthcare in determining community vulnerability to environmental change. Overall, this thesis informs conservation interventions, in a way that can be aligned with local and national needs to help to enhance resilience. Achieving these goals hinges on collaborative efforts among government bodies, Indigenous communities, stakeholders, and local populations, both in Guyana and worldwide. Together, this set of works offers a holistic perspective on environmental challenges, linking research outcomes to inform policy implementation for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Bicknell, Jake
Thesis advisor: Davies, Zoe
Thesis advisor: Robinson, Janine
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.105293
Uncontrolled keywords: Guyana, deforestation, livelihoods, mining, Amazon, birds
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2024 10:10 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2024 15:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Hayes, William.

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