Negative human-wildlife interactions in traditional agroforestry systems in Assam, India

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Manoj Singh
Awadhesh Kumar
Madhubala Sharma


Traditional agroforestry systems are designed to provide maximum and diverse yield (ranging from agricultural crops, forest trees, livestock and fish) to people.  They also act as sources of food and shelter to wild animals leading to crop destruction, livestock depredation and injuries to people giving rise to negative human-wildlife interactions.  The present study was carried out in three different agroforestry systems namely tea gardens, homegardens, and agrisilvicultural systems in Assam to document the attitude of people towards wild animals which damage the crops and livestock, through questionnaire surveys.  In agroforestry systems, 13 animals were reported as destructive; rodents at 13% followed by Indian Hare at 12%.  The least destructive were birds and bats with 4% each.  In tea gardens majority of the people killed animals for meat (95%) and the most common method for killing was the use of catapults (77%).  In homegardens and agrisilvicultural systems, owners chased the animals away (82%) by using catapults (68%).  Hunting of animals and intolerance of people towards crop destruction and livestock depredation done by wild animals were the two main reasons causing negative human-wildlife interactions in agroforestry systems.  The present study concludes that wildlife species found in the agroforestry system in Assam were threatened by local inhabitants and thus, a suitable conservation awareness and policy action plan should be developed in consultation with the owners of agroforestry systems by considering the ecological significance of the wildlife species found therein.

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