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Forest fragmentation drives human wildlife conflicts in Nepal

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An international team of experts examined why human-wildlife conflict continues to be a major problem in Nepal despite having an exemplary record of forest conservation and increase in forest cover. The team included expert from Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, KIAS Scientist at Center for Conservation Biology, WWF Nepal and University of Hamburg, World Forestry, Germany.

 Increasing forest cover does not necessarily reduce human-wildlife conflict.

 KIAS Scientist at Centre for Coservation Biology, Dr. Prakash K. Paudel, participated in this research. Dr. Paudel and other scientists identifed following key findings:

  • Attacks by tigers are significantly and positively associated with forest fragmentation.
  • Attacks by common leopards are strongly positively related with landscape heterogeneity, and negatively related to the proportion of bush and grassland
  • Attacks by one-horned rhinoceros are positively significantly related to the distance to water sources, and proportion of bush and grassland in the landscape
  • Attacks by elephants are strongly and positively associated with the forest fragmentation

The research is published in the prestigious journal Ecological Indicators

The expert concluded that forest fragmentation was inevitably a critical driver of human–wildlife conflicts, although the extent of effects varied depending on species specific habitat requirements.