Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forestry (MS)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Audrey L. Mayer

Advisor 2

Evan S. Kane

Committee Member 1

David J. Flaspohler

Committee Member 2

Kari B. Henquinet


Entering the planet’s sixth mass-extinction, monitoring biodiversity and the factors which affect it is of the utmost importance. This study on the interaction of humans and their livestock with wildlife, and the impact of this interaction on wildlife conservation, took place in Santiago Coatepec, located within the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. Wildlife interactions with livestock may depend upon species, season, ecological characteristics of the area, and livestock management practices. Using camera traps, field data, and interview data, I quantified livestock impact on wildlife behavior and community beliefs. Over two years, camera traps at 18 stations recorded 709 wildlife videos and 2360 livestock videos. I collected 29 community questionnaires, clarifying management practices and environmental beliefs. Livestock was recorded most often in communal farmlands (968 videos) and near streambeds (1002 videos), while wildlife was concentrated in rugged terrain (258 videos) and hillsides (171 videos). The greatest wildlife diversity was seen in rugged terrain (12 species) and farmland/river (10 species). Wildlife triggers dropped during the wet season, while livestock triggers remained constant year-round. 71% of recorded livestock-wildlife interactions were negative (17 of 24). Community interviews ranked biodiversity monitoring as very important (19) or important (10). 47% of participants reported pumas/coyotes as dangers to the community, while 68% believed white-tailed deer were the area’s most valued wildlife species. Camera trap data demonstrated that wildlife and livestock interactions were predominantly negative. Community members valued wildlife but feared livestock losses due to depredation by wildlife and diseases from wildlife. Recognizing the dramatic effects of livestock on wildlife and how these interactions impact local value of wildlife is crucial to long-term mitigation strategies -which must offer a greater understanding of community vulnerabilities, perceptions and address social factors in order for the survival of native species in the biosphere reserve and globally.