Ecological Research

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 390–402 | Cite as

Ecological function losses caused by monotonous land use induce crop raiding by wildlife on the island of Yakushima, southern Japan

  • Naoki Agetsuma
Special Feature Sustainability and biodiversity of forest ecosystems: an interdisciplinary approach


Mass production is a logical outcome of price competition in a capitalist economy. It has resulted in the need for large-scale logging and planting of commercial crops. However, such monotonous land use, or monoculture, has damaged various ecological functions of forests and eroded the beneficial public service provided by forests. In Japan, the most widespread monotonous land use is associated with coniferous plantations, the expansion of which was encouraged by Forest Agency policies from 1958 that were aimed at increasing wood production. By 1986, half of all forested lands had been transformed into single-species conifer plantations. These policies may damage the ecological functions of forests: to provide stable habitats for forest wildlife. In particular, food supplies for wildlife have fluctuated greatly after several decades of logging. Some species have therefore changed their ecology and begun to explore novel environments proactively in order to adapt to such extreme fluctuations. Such species have started to use farmlands that neighbor the plantations. In this sense, crop raiding by wildlife can be regarded as a negative result of monotonous land use due to the loss of ecological functions. Therefore, habitat management to rehabilitate ecological functions and to reorganize the landscape will be required in order to resolve the problem of crop raiding by wildlife. This study examines crop raiding by Japanese deer (Cervus nippon) and monkeys (Macaca fuscata) on the island of Yakushima, which typifies crop-raiding situations in Japan.


Crop raiding Functional response Land use management Plantation Wildlife ecology 



I thank Prof. Nakashizuka of Tohoku University for encouraging me to write this paper, the Forest and Fisheries Department of Kagoshima Pref. for providing me with local data, Mr. Suwa for providing data on forestry in Yakushima, Dr. Hill of the University of Sussex for improving the manuscript, and the PRI of Kyoto University for allowing me to use Yakushima Field Research Station. This study was supported by a grant from the Fujiwara Natural History Foundation, Grants-in Aid for Young Scientists (A) 14704013 and (B) 16780107 from The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and Research Projects of the RIHN.


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© The Ecological Society of Japan 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tomakomai Experimental Forest, Field Science Center for Northern BiosphereHokkaido UniversityTomakomaiJapan

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