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Rodent pest management and predators communities in oil palm plantations in Indonesia : comparison of two contrasted system

Abstract : Rodent pest control is often a major issue in agroecosystems. We conducted a 3-year comparative study (2010-2012) in oil palm plantations in Riau and Bangka provinces, in Indonesia: in both areas barn owls have been introduced for rat control, and were at least as abundant in Bangka plantations than in Riau, but in Riau rat populations have been maintained at an acceptable level without the use of rodenticide, whereas in Bangka intensive rodenticide applications did not prevent high levels of rat damage. We compared these two contrasting systems in terms of predator community (barn owls and small carnivores) abundance and/or diet. We found that small carnivores were much more abundant in Riau plantations than in Bangka, and that the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) was the dominant species in Riau while absent from Bangka. Our results on diet suggested that rat prey intake from barn owls and from the small carnivore community would be less in Bangka plantations than in Riau. Broadly, our results suggest that small carnivores, notably the leopard cat, play an important role in rodent control. In addition, we investigated spatial distribution of small carnivores within the oil palm habitat. Our results support the hypothesis that, although the oil palm may be habitable for some small carnivore species such as the leopard cat, where they supposedly forage at night, most species still need forest for their survival in oil palm landscapes. Oil palm plantations managers should adapt agricultural practices and land-use to enhance small carnivores, with the view to improve rodent control.
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  • HAL Id : tel-01240363, version 2

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Aude Verwilghen. Rodent pest management and predators communities in oil palm plantations in Indonesia : comparison of two contrasted system. Agricultural sciences. Université de Franche-Comté, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015BESA2042⟩. ⟨tel-01240363v2⟩

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