Contribution of illegal hunting, culling of pest species, road accidents and feral dogs to biodiversity loss in established oil-palm landscapes
Azhar, B. and Lindenmayer, David and Wood, Jeff and Fischer, Joern and Manning, Adrian and McElhinny, Chris and Hussin, Mohamed Zakaria (2013) Contribution of illegal hunting, culling of pest species, road accidents and feral dogs to biodiversity loss in established oil-palm landscapes. Wildlife Research, 40 (1). pp. 1-9. ISSN 1035-3712; ESSN: 1448-5494
Official URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/WR12036.htm
Context: Understanding the ecological impacts of the palm-oil industry on native fauna requires information on anthropogenic threats that may cause species decline or local extinction. Aim: The main aim of the study was to assess wildlife deaths caused by illegal hunting, road accidents and introduced predators in established oil-palm landscapes in Peninsular Malaysia. Methods: Between April and October 2009, we interviewed 362 oil-palm workers at 36 sites, including large industrial estates and semi-traditional smallholdings. Key results: Our results showed that (1) illegal hunting by oil-palm workers in different oil-palm management systems was not statistically significant (P = 0.097), (2) native fauna were more often destroyed as pests in smallholdings than in conventional and eco-friendly plantation estates (P = 0.005), (3) non-local poachers conducted illegal activity more often in smallholdings than in conventional and eco-friendly plantation estates (P = 0.011), (4) road accidents were reported to kill more native fauna in conventional plantation estates than in smallholdings and eco-friendly plantation estates (P < 0.001) and (5) feral dogs were reported as killing more native fauna in eco-friendly plantation estates than in conventional plantation estates and smallholdings (P = 0.034). Conclusion: In addition to the conversion of native forest to oil-palm monocultures, various other anthropogenic threats can have a substantial effect on wildlife in oil-palm landscapes. Implications: To improve the conservation value of oil-palm landscapes, we recommend that palm-oil stakeholders should implement anti-poaching patrols, organise conservation programs to educate workers, reduce vehicle speeds on roads within oil-palm landscapes, and control local populations of feral dogs.
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