The Banj oak Quercus leucotrichophora as a potential mitigating factor for human-langur interactions in the Garhwal Himalayas, India: People’s perceptions and ecological importance

Publication Type:

Journal Articles

Source:

Global Ecology and Conservation, Volume 22, Issue e00985 (2020)

URL:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989419308625

Keywords:

Behavior ecology, conservation, Crop-foraging, Local livelihoods

Abstract:

Crop-foraging by primates is a rapidly growing concern. Effective mitigation strategies are urgently required to resolve this issue. In the Garhwal Himalayas, local people’s high dependency on forest resources is a major cause of habitat loss, which paves the way for human-primate interactions in this area. To investigate the socioeconomic factors that might explain langur crop-foraging, we conducted structured interviews among 215 households in the Garhwal Himalayas in India. We also examined langur resource use by monitoring their feeding and sleeping site activity. Less agricultural land, less agricultural production, and possession of large numbers of livestock significantly predicted villagers reporting crop-foraging events, although economic status of the correspondents did not have any effect. Perception of the villagers about reduction in forest resource was significantly affected by the amount of livestock possessed by the villagers. Our observations suggested that Banj oak Quercus leucotrichophora was the dominant species (59.2%, N = 306) in the pool of sleeping trees used by the langurs. Langurs also showed a preference in their use of sleeping sites and feeding sites, which were different from that expected by chance. Sleeping sites with high density of oak were re-used most frequently. Similarly, dense oak patches were also the preferred feeding patches. Thus, we suggest replanting of oak trees and conservation of intact oak patches, environmental education outreach, and empowerment of women in the community as potential mitigating factors to lessen the interaction between humans and langurs