Does planting fruit trees help?......not really!

We all know that the area of rainforests are decreasing and that human population is increasing so this brings the wildlife into contact and thus conflict with humans. Why does this happen? Well, communitys surrounding the borders (buffer zones) of the national park tend to grow cash crops such as durian and other fruits which the wildlife really likes to eat...and when such crops are raided by monkeys and apes it can be devastating for the farmer....who quite rightly wants to protect his crops. Such conflict has resulted in horrific instances of wildlife being shot, beaten and killed. 

What can be done to reduce such conflict?

Agroforestry schemes have become fashionable in many areas in Asia and they encourage farmers to plant more fruit trees so that the wildlife can take fruit and the farmers get more fruit from the extra trees. This is counterintuitive and naive. Scientific research and published literature indicates that such programmes actually encourage wildlife to leave the forest and expose them to further conflict with farmers. International guidelines advise to make a buffer zone by planting crops that are unpalatable to wildlife such as chillis and tea.

Dr Tatyana Humle speaking at the Centre for International Forestry and Research in Bogor, Indonesia said..."Solutions designed by humans are constantly challenged by adaptable wildlife. Once a human-wildlife conflict strategy has been designed and implemented, it needs to be properly monitored and constantly reassessed and revised otherwise it is not worth the investment."

Ecological education and continued support of affected communitys is key in providing a long term solution to such human-wildlife conflict issues.