Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 24  2012 April p.  1277-1286

Avian biodiversity and conservation in Malaysian oil palm production areas

Author(s): ASRULSANI Jambari * ; BADRUL Azhar * ; NOR LAILI Ibrahim * ; SYARI Jamian ** ; ARNINA Hussin ‡ ; CHONG Leong Puan * ; HAFIDZI Mohd Noor ** ; EBIL Yusof * ; MOHAMED Zakaria *

Our study demonstrated the persistence of avian biodiversity in established oil palm production areas. Here, the empirical evidence on avian species richness reflects explicitly that oil palm production areas are not merely a ‘green biological desert’. We investigated the relationships between bird species richness and different management regimes (plantations vs. smallholdings) and vegetation characteristics in 30 oil palm areas in the states of Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang. We recorded 72 bird species, comprising approximately 32% forest-dependent, 19% migratory and 10% wetland species. Our study showed that plantations and smallholdings supported a similar total number of bird species richness (P = 0.709). However, we found that a greater height of the ground vegetation cover had a positive effect on total species richness (P < 0.001). Similarly, there was no significant difference between plantations and smallholdings with respect to the total number of migratory species (P = 0.322). This number also increased when ground vegetation cover was higher (P = 0.010). We recommend the following appropriate conservation measures that may enhance avian biodiversity in oil palm production areas: (1) implementation of tree planting projects that benefit wild birds, (2) integration of oil palm with livestock grazing to phase out dangerous agrochemicals that are harmful to wild birds, and (3) continued promotion of ground vegetation cover to increase habitat heterogeneity on a local scale. Potentially oil palm can move towards becoming a sustainable and profitable commodity if production areas can be managed for conservation outcomes.

Keywords: , , , ,

Author Information
* Department of Forest Management, Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

** Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

‡ TQEM & Sustainability, Sime Darby Research & Development Centre, 42700 Banting, Selangor, Malaysia.

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