We all know that habitat loss is pushing many species to the brink of extinction, with the conversion of forests for agricultural use a particular problem.
While mega-farms converting hundreds of hectares for monocrops are a primary culprit, new research shows that farmed land can, in the right setting, play an important role in supporting threatened forest wildlife.
Once common across Southeast Asia, the green peafowl has been a victim of land use change, as well as intense poaching. Classified on the IUCN Red List as Endangered, this spectacular bird is now absent entirely from much of its former range.
In an agricultural area of central Myanmar, however, the species continues to thrive – and scientists from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) alongside other research partners have now determined why.
Farming practices in Myanmar are changing as traditional subsistence methods are replaced by intensive agriculture techniques, driven by globalisation and a market economy. Despite this, the landscape in many parts of the country retains small fragments of forest, typically around monasteries and temples. These areas tend to be protected by the religious communities who live there and often harbour abundant wildlife populations.