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Wildlife and damage to agriculture: an ethnobiological approach with rural producers in southeastern Brazil

Ana Laura Campos de Carvalho, Adrielli Ribeiro Araújo, Théa Mirian Medeiros Machado, Rômulo Ribon, Leonardo Esteves Lopes

Abstract


Some wild animal species quickly adapt to anthropogenic environments, producing unusually large populations, causing human-wildlife conflicts. The objective of this study is to understand the way the farmers perceive the fauna and the information they possess regarding the damages those animals inflict on their crops in southeastern Brazil. We collected data by presenting 200 questionnaires and conducting 22 semi-structured interviews with the rural producers in a region characterized by an agrarian matrix intermixed with small forest patches. Nearly every rural producer (99%) who answered the questionnaire (n = 107) had suffered wild animal-triggered economic losses, especially by the White-eyed Parakeet Psittacara leucophthalmus (51%), which attacked maize and fruit crops. A substantial portion of these farmers (38%) has employed some control method, including acoustic techniques (42.5%), like fireworks, and visual techniques (41%), like scarecrows. The farmers concurred that effective control methods are necessary for the White-eyed Parakeet, as current techniques proved inadequate. The understanding that the rural producers possess about the problem will facilitate designing new control strategies to manage this pest species. However, to ensure its success, a suitable management plan must be formulated to guarantee that the local rural occupations are maintained, incorporating human dimensions into wildlife management.


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