Date: August 7, 2018
Source: University of Kent
Protected riverbank habitats within areas of oil palm cultivation can play a key role in reducing the negative impacts on tropical bird numbers but need to be increased in size, new research from the University of Kent has shown.
Converting rainforests to oil palm plantations has well documented impacts on tropical wildlife, including birds. But so far there has been little research on the value natural vegetation in river areas in plantations has for nature, although these are often preserved for water management as 'riparian reserves'.
However, a new study, led by the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology in the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent, in partnership with Universiti Malaysia Sabah, demonstrates that riparian areas can help to lessen the negative impacts of oil palm cultivation on bird communities.
The team counted birds across 28 rivers at a site in Malaysia and were able to examine their findings in relation to the width of the protected forest alongside the rivers. The study showed that large riparian reserves tend to support more bird species, with the largest ones hosting similar number as nearby forests.