Assessment of farmers' knowledge and perceptions towards farmland birds show the need of conservation interventions

Hem Bahadur Katuwal, Mingxia Zhang, Hem Sagar Baral, Hari Prasad Sharma, Rui Chang Quan

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Abstract

Farmland birds are facing a gradual decline in their population globally due to various anthropogenic threats. Understanding farmers' knowledge, attitudes, and perception towards the conservation of farmland birds is crucial to understand distribution and threats, as farmers often come across the birds year-round. We interviewed 743 farmers in four districts (Kapilvastu, Chitwan, Sarlahi, and Sunsari) of lowland Nepal. The majority of the interviewed farmers were male (72%), formally educated (66%), and 16–78 years old. Around 62% of the farmers reported having seen at least one of the 15 birds that we showed them in the interview, of which 57% recognized them correctly. Farmers from protected areas identified more birds than those from non-protected areas. However, the study revealed farmers' poor understanding of birds' names at the species level, nesting, conservation status, ecosystem services provided, and bird hunting as an illegal practice. The majority of the farmers (63%) liked all 15 birds, mainly for their beautiful appearance and sounds. Bird identification ability was correlated with birds' abundance and influenced by the respondent's gender and knowledge on birds' ecological importance. Most farmers perceived that farmland birds decline was mainly due to hunting and trade, pesticides, and lack of nesting trees in the farmlands. The baseline data of this study can be used by policymakers to develop site-specific conservation action plans for farmland birds. We emphasize the pressing need of conservation interventions by government and conservation organizations to increase farmers' knowledge on birds and their ecology and their importance in ecosystems through community outreach programs and school curriculum for farmland bird conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01563
JournalGlobal Ecology and Conservation
Volume27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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