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Title: Crop damage by vertebrates in Latin America: current knowledge and potential future management directions
Authors: Cuesta Hermira, Adrián Alejandro 
Michalski, Fernanda
Keywords: Human-wildlife conflict; Agri-environment schemes; Animal damage; Bird damage; Mammal damage; Crop feeding; Crop protection
Issue Date: 2022
Project: Fundación Mutua Madrileña (Beca de Posgrado 2020) 
CNPq—process 302806/2018-0 
University of Coimbra via the "International Master in Applied Ecology" 
Serial title, monograph or event: PeerJ
Volume: 10
Abstract: Crop farming contributes to one of the most extensive land use activities in the world, and cropland areas continue to rise. Many vertebrate species feed on crops, which has caused an increase in human-wildlife conflicts in croplands. Crop-feeding damages the economy of local communities and causes retaliation against the responsible vertebrates in several forms, including lethal practices such as hunting and poisoning. Lethal control may cause the local extirpation of some species, affecting ecological processes and patterns. Therefore, it is necessary to find non-lethal alternatives that can protect both local economies and wildlife. Research has been conducted in Africa and Asia, focusing on elephants and primates, and the effectiveness of some non-lethal alternatives, such as chili-based repellents and beehives, is being investigated. However, there has been very little research on this topic in Central and South America. The goal of this review is to assess the current knowledge on crop damage by vertebrates in Central and South America and indicate future research directions. Survey methodology: We reviewed the available scientific literature reporting crop damage by vertebrates in Central and South America, and the Caribbean, published between 1980 and 2020, through systematic searches on Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. We analyzed the temporal and geographical distributions of the studies, the crops and vertebrate species these studies considered, the crop protection techniques used, and their effectiveness. Results: We retrieved only 113 studies on crop damage by vertebrates in Latin America, but there was an increasing trend in the number of studies published over time. Most of the studies were conducted in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Four orders of mammals (Rodentia, Carnivora, Artiodactyla, and Primates) and four orders of birds (Passeriformes, Columbiformes, Psittaciformes, and Anseriformes) were the most common groups of crop-feeding vertebrates. The most prominent crop was corn, which was featured in 49% of the studies. Other notable crops include rice, sorghum, and sugarcane. The most reported method for protecting crops was lethal control through hunting or poisoning. Non-lethal techniques were found to be less prevalent. Less than half of the studies that mentioned the use of protection techniques indicated their effectiveness, and only 10 studies evaluated it by performing scientific experiments and reporting their results. Conclusions: Central and South America is still underrepresented in research on vertebrate crop-feeding. There is a need for experimentation-based robust research to find crop protection techniques that minimize harm to vertebrates while effectively reducing damage to crops. While this is being studied, habitat loss and fragmentation need to be halted to prevent the native vertebrates from turning to crops for food.
ISSN: 2167-8359
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.13185
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CFE - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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