Involvement of local residents is emphasized in modern conservation practices. However, conflicts between residents and wildlife often occur due to crop damages. As a result, residents are unwilling to support conservation activities. Therefore, alleviation of human-wildlife conflicts and management of agricultural activities in protected areas are important issues for conservation authorities. Agricultural activity exists in Taroko National Park for several decades. Some of the farms were purchased and restored to nature by the administrators of the national park in recent years, and others are still in use and suffering wildlife damage. For the purpose of conservation and sustainable management, we should understand the status of wildlife damage on crops, and look for ways to mitigate the conflict between humans and wildlife. In addition, we should understand the benefits of farmland restoration and organic farming to biodiversity, so as to promote the transformation of conventional agricultural activity and reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
This study consists of three parts: 1. We interviewed the farmers in Xibao, Luoshao, and Hualuxi area to understand the status of wildlife damage on crops. 2. We applied line transect survey, point count method, camera trap, and Sherman's trap to investigate the faunas of mammal, bird, and butterfly on farms in the Xibao to Huaruxi area, and compare the biodiversity among conventional farms, organic farms, and restored farms. 3. We proposed some approaches which may be contributive to both wildlife damage prevention and ecological monitoring.
We collected 17 valid questionnaires. Approximately 10-30% of crop yield was lost due to wildlife damage. Cabbage, tomatoes, and peaches were the major crops in this area and suffered serious damages. Macaque and wildboar were the two species which caused the most serious damages. For the damage prevention methods, firecrackers and dogs were widely used but not really effective. Some of the respondents indicated that wildlife damage became more serious in recent years.
The results from camera trap survey suggested that medium-large sized mammals occurred most frequently in the restored farms, and usually occurred more frequently in the conventional farms than organic farms. The Sherman’s trap only captured mouse in the organic farms (2.19 mouse/100 trap nights). For the bird fauna survey, we recorded 52 species in 28 families. The species richness and Shannon-Weiner index were both higher in organic farms than conventional farms and restored farms. In all types of farms, the proportions of omnivore were highest. However, herbivores had higher proportions in conventional farms but lower proportions in organic and restored farms than insectivores. For the butterfly fauna survey, we recorded 90 species in 5 families. Pieris canidia is the dominant species in number. Species richness, Shannon-Weiner index, and species evenness were highest in the restored farms, but equally matched between the conventional and organic farms. In addition, our long-term monitoring suggested that the relative abundance of sambar, wildboar, and ferret badger were decreasing in the Lianhua Pond area.
We proposed three types of devices for damage prevention and mammal monitoring, including: fixed-point detection device, agricultural drone, and problem animal detection device. We collected information regarding power and network demand, product completeness, and price for these devices. In addition, we cooperated with two farmers to test a fixed-point detection device using an infrared automatic cameras with an instant report function. The results showed that this device was able to detect and alarm wildlife invasion at night, but not effective in the daytime. Therefore, it is necessary to search for a more suitable model. The farmers were willing to use this device but required a subsidization from the government.