Ecological function losses caused by monotonous land use induce crop raiding by wildlife on the island of Yakushima, southern Japan

  • Agetsuma N
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Abstract

Mass production is a logical outcome of price competition in a capitalist economy. It has resulted in the need for large-scale logging and planting of commercial crops. However, such monotonous land use, or monoculture, has damaged various ecological functions of forests and eroded the beneficial public service provided by forests. In Japan, the most widespread monotonous land use is associated with coniferous plantations, the expansion of which was encouraged by Forest Agency policies from 1958 that were aimed at increasing wood production. By 1986, half of all forested lands had been transformed into single-species conifer plantations. These policies may damage the ecological functions of forests: to provide stable habitats for forest wildlife. In particular, food supplies for wildlife have fluctuated greatly after several decades of logging. Some species have therefore changed their ecology and begun to explore novel environments proactively in order to adapt to such extreme fluctuations. Such species have started to use farmlands that neighbor the plantations. In this sense, crop raiding by wildlife can be regarded as a negative result of monotonous land use due to the loss of ecological functions. Therefore, habitat management to rehabilitate ecological functions and to reorganize the landscape will be required in order to resolve the problem of crop raiding by wildlife. This study examines crop raiding by Japanese deer (Cervus nippon) and monkeys (Macaca fuscata) on the island of Yakushima, which typifies crop-raiding situations in Japan.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Crop raiding
  • Functional response
  • Land use management
  • Plantation
  • Wildlife ecology

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Authors

  • Naoki Agetsuma

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