Conserving a globally threatened species in a semi-natural, agrarian landscape

Harriet Ibbett, Chansetha Lay, Ponlork Phlai, Det Song, Chamnan Hong, Simon P. Mahood, E. J. Milner-Gulland

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Agriculture threatens biodiversity across the tropics, particularly in semi-natural grassland landscapes, where human populations are high, habitat is easily converted and agriculture is prone to intensification. Over the last 20 years intensive, commercial dry season rice cultivation has emerged as the dominant threat to the Bengal florican Houbaropsis bengalensis, a globally threatened bustard that breeds in the seasonally inundated grasslands of central Cambodia. Although floricans have been extensively monitored for 10 years, no socioeconomic research has been undertaken to examine how local livelihood activities interact with the florican. We conducted household questionnaires and focus groups in 21 villages in the Northern Tonle Sap Conservation Landscape to gather information on household demographics, rice farming and bird hunting in protected and unprotected areas of florican breeding habitat. We identified a significant increase in dry season rice adoption by local communities since 2005. Dry season rice cultivation was strongly associated with agrochemical use and rice fields directly overlapped with florican breeding habitat, reducing habitat availability throughout the breeding season. We identified a low but significant level of bird hunting in grassland households (8%) and revealed a demand for wild bird meat amongst local communities. Our findings suggest an urgent need for conservation interventions in unprotected farmland and emphasize the role of enforcement and community engagement in improving protection within protected areas. We highlight the potential of private sector initiatives such as the Sustainable Rice Platform in reconciling conservation and development for impoverished rural communities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-191
    Number of pages11
    JournalOryx
    Volume53
    Issue number1
    Early online date29 May 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Fingerprint

    threatened species
    rice
    dry season
    households
    grasslands
    grassland
    bird
    breeding sites
    hunting
    habitat
    breeding
    agriculture
    Otididae
    Cambodia
    habitat availability
    landscape management
    private sector
    focus groups
    birds
    agrochemical

    Cite this

    Ibbett, H., Lay, C., Phlai, P., Song, D., Hong, C., Mahood, S. P., & Milner-Gulland, E. J. (2019). Conserving a globally threatened species in a semi-natural, agrarian landscape. Oryx, 53(1), 181-191. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605316001708
    Ibbett, Harriet ; Lay, Chansetha ; Phlai, Ponlork ; Song, Det ; Hong, Chamnan ; Mahood, Simon P. ; Milner-Gulland, E. J. / Conserving a globally threatened species in a semi-natural, agrarian landscape. In: Oryx. 2019 ; Vol. 53, No. 1. pp. 181-191.
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    abstract = "Agriculture threatens biodiversity across the tropics, particularly in semi-natural grassland landscapes, where human populations are high, habitat is easily converted and agriculture is prone to intensification. Over the last 20 years intensive, commercial dry season rice cultivation has emerged as the dominant threat to the Bengal florican Houbaropsis bengalensis, a globally threatened bustard that breeds in the seasonally inundated grasslands of central Cambodia. Although floricans have been extensively monitored for 10 years, no socioeconomic research has been undertaken to examine how local livelihood activities interact with the florican. We conducted household questionnaires and focus groups in 21 villages in the Northern Tonle Sap Conservation Landscape to gather information on household demographics, rice farming and bird hunting in protected and unprotected areas of florican breeding habitat. We identified a significant increase in dry season rice adoption by local communities since 2005. Dry season rice cultivation was strongly associated with agrochemical use and rice fields directly overlapped with florican breeding habitat, reducing habitat availability throughout the breeding season. We identified a low but significant level of bird hunting in grassland households (8{\%}) and revealed a demand for wild bird meat amongst local communities. Our findings suggest an urgent need for conservation interventions in unprotected farmland and emphasize the role of enforcement and community engagement in improving protection within protected areas. We highlight the potential of private sector initiatives such as the Sustainable Rice Platform in reconciling conservation and development for impoverished rural communities.",
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    Ibbett, H, Lay, C, Phlai, P, Song, D, Hong, C, Mahood, SP & Milner-Gulland, EJ 2019, 'Conserving a globally threatened species in a semi-natural, agrarian landscape' Oryx, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 181-191. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605316001708

    Conserving a globally threatened species in a semi-natural, agrarian landscape. / Ibbett, Harriet; Lay, Chansetha; Phlai, Ponlork; Song, Det; Hong, Chamnan; Mahood, Simon P.; Milner-Gulland, E. J.

    In: Oryx, Vol. 53, No. 1, 01.01.2019, p. 181-191.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    Ibbett H, Lay C, Phlai P, Song D, Hong C, Mahood SP et al. Conserving a globally threatened species in a semi-natural, agrarian landscape. Oryx. 2019 Jan 1;53(1):181-191. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605316001708