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Article     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 40(1)

Contribution of illegal hunting, culling of pest species, road accidents and feral dogs to biodiversity loss in established oil-palm landscapes

Badrul Azhar A B D, David Lindenmayer A, Jeff Wood A, Joern Fischer C, Adrian Manning A, Chris McElhinny A and Mohamed Zakaria B

A The Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU College of Medicine, Biology, and Environment, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
B Department of Forest Management, Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
C Faculty of Sustainability, Leuphana University Lueneburg, 21335 Lueneburg, Germany.
D Corresponding author. Email: badrul.sharif@anu.edu.au

Wildlife Research 40(1) 1-9 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR12036
Submitted: 17 February 2012  Accepted: 20 November 2012   Published: 12 December 2012

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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.

Additional keywords: anthropogenic threats, conventional plantation estates, eco-friendly plantation estates, semi-traditional smallholdings.


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