Human-modified landscapes play an important role in supporting the survival of primate populations, but they may also facilitate human–primate interactions, possibly leading to negative outcomes. We conducted a scalar investigation of the role of landscape structure in shaping the intensity of crop feeding by a generalist primate species, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) in northern India. At the species level, we used behavioral sampling techniques to assess habitat selection by two groups of rhesus macaques. At the landscape level, we used GIS-based analyses to quantify landscape structure in terms of class-level and patch-level metrics and correlated it with macaque crop feeding intensities. We found that, on average, both study groups spent only 15% of their total feeding time on cultivars. However, they spent a large proportion of their feeding (BH: 75% and CH: 36%) and ranging (BH: 72% and CH: 39%) time in agroecosystem habitats. Landscape level analysis showed that crop feeding intensity was not related to total area under cultivation. Instead, macaque crop feeding intensity was positively correlated to the arrangement of deciduous forest patches beside cultivated area patches. Our findings call for careful appraisal of landscape management practices as a potential mitigation strategy for primate crop-depredation in such human-modified landscapes.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Agetsuma, N. (2007). Ecological function losses caused by monotonous land use induce crop raiding by wildlife on the island of Yakushima, southern Japan. Ecological Research, 22, 390–402. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-4-431-73238-9_4.
Ahsan, M. F., & Uddin, M. M. (2014). Human-rhesus monkey conflict at Rampur Village under Monohardi Upazila in Narsingdi District of Bangladesh. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 6(6), 5905–5908.
Altieri, M. A., & Koohafkan, P. (n.d.). Globally Important Ingenious Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS): Extent, significance, and implications for development. http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/ap021e/ap021e.pdf
Altmann, J. (1974). Observational study of behavior: Sampling methods. Behaviour, 49(3/4), 227–267.
Anand, S., Binoy, V. V., & Radhakrishna, S. (2018). The monkey is not always a god: Attitudinal differences toward crop-raiding macaques and why it matters for conflict mitigation. Ambio, 47(6), 711–720. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-1008-5.
Anderson, J., Rowcliffe, J. M., & Cowlishaw, G. (2007). Does the matrix matter? A forest primate in a complex agricultural landscape. Biological Conservation, 135(2), 212–222. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2006.10.022.
Boulton, A. M., Horrocks, J. A., & Baulu, J. (1996). The Barbados vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus): Changes in population size and crop damage, 1980–1994. International Journal of Primatology, 17(5), 831–844. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02735267.
Chauhan, A., & Pirta, R. S. (2010). Agonistic interactions between humans and two Species of Monkeys (rhesus monkey Macaca mulatta and Hanuman langur Semnopithecus entellus) in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Journal of Psychology, 1(1), 9–14.
Dhiman, S. P., & Mohan, L. (2014). Prospects of managing human-rhesus monkey conflict in Himachal Pradesh, India. In Human-wildlife conflict in the mountains of SAARC region: Compilation of successful management strategies and practices (pp. 48–60). SAARC Forestry Centre.
Engeman, R. M., Laborde, J. E., Constantin, B. U., Shwiff, S. A., Hall, P., Duffiney, A., & Luciano, F. (2010). The economic impacts to commercial farms from invasive monkeys in Puerto Rico. Crop Protection, 29(4), 401–405. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cropro.2009.10.021.
Estrada, A. (2006). Human and non-human primate co-existence in the Neotropics: A preliminary view of some agricultural practices as a complement for primate conservation. Ecological and Environmental Anthropology, 2(2), 17–29 http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/icwdmeea/3/.
Estrada, A., & Coates-Estrada, R. (1996). Tropical rain forest fragmentation and wild populations of primates at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. International Journal of Primatology, 17(5), 759–783. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02735263.
Estrada, A., Raboy, B. E., & Oliveira, L. C. (2012). Agroecosystems and primate conservation in the tropics: A review. American Journal of Primatology, 74(8), 696–711. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22033.
Fashing, P. J. (2001). Activity and ranging patterns of guerezas in the Kakamega Forest: Intergroup variation and implications for intragroup feeding competition. International Journal of Primatology, 22(4), 549–577. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010785517852.
Goldman, A., Hartter, J., Southworth, J., & Binford, M. (2008). The human landscape around the Island Park: Impacts and responses to Kibale National Park. In R. Wrangham & E. Ross (Eds.), Science and conservation in African forests: The benefits of long-term research (pp. 129–144). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511754920.014
Gupta, A. K. (2001). Status of the primates in Tripura. In ENVIS bulletin: Wildlife and protected areas, non-human primates of India (pp. 127–135). Wildlife Institute of India.
Hill, C. M. (1997). Crop-raiding by wild vertebrates: The farmer’s perspective in an agricultural community in western Uganda. International Journal of Pest Management, 43(1), 77–84. https://doi.org/10.1080/096708797229022.
Hill, C. M. (2005). People, crops and primates: A conflict of interests. In J. Paterson & J. Wallis (Eds.), Commensalism and conflict: The human-primate interface (pp. 40–59). American Society of Primatologists.
Hill, C. M. (2017). Crop raiding. In The International Encyclopedia of Primatology, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119179313.wbprim0109
Hockings, K. J. (2016). Mitigating human-nonhuman primate conflict. In The International Encyclopaedia of Primatology, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119179313.wbprim0053
Hockings, K. J., Anderson, J. R., & Matsuzawa, T. (2009). Use of wild and cultivated foods by chimpanzees at Bossou, Republic of Guinea: Feeding dynamics in a human-influenced environment. American Journal of Primatology, 71(8), 636–646. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.20698.
Hockings, K. J., & McLennan, M. R. (2012). From forest to farm: Systematic review of cultivar feeding by chimpanzees—management implications for wildlife in anthropogenic landscapes. PLoS ONE, 7(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033391.
Hockings, K. J., McLennan, M. R., Carvalho, S., Ancrenaz, M., Bobe, R., Byrne, R. W., Dunbar, R. I. M., Matsuzawa, T., McGrew, W. C., Williamson, E. A., Wilson, M. L., Wood, B., Wrangham, R. W., & Hill, C. M. (2015). Apes in the Anthropocene: Flexibility and survival. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2015.02.002
Holzner, A., Ruppert, N., Swat, F., Schmidt, M., Weiß, B.M., Villa, G., Mansor, A., Sah, S.A.M., Engelhardt, A., Kühl, H. and Widdig, A. (2019). Macaques can contribute to greener practices in oil palm plantations when used as biological pest control. Current Biology, 29(5), R1066-R1067. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.09.011.
Huang, C., Li, X. Y., Shi, L. J., & Jiang, X. L. (2018). Patterns of human-wildlife conflict and compensation practices around Daxueshan Nature Reserve, China. Zoological Research, 39(6), 406–412. https://doi.org/10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.056.
Imaki, H., Koganezawa, M., & Maruyama, N. (1994). Habitat selection and forest edge use by Japanese monkeys in the Nikko and Imaichi Area, Central Honshu, Japan. Biosphere Conservation, 7(2), 87–96.
Imam, E., Yahya, H. S. A., & Malik, I. (2002). A successful mass translocation of commensal rhesus monkeys Macaca mulatta in Vrindaban, India. Oryx, 36(1), 87–39. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605301000011.
Jaman, M. F., & Huffman, M. A. (2013). The effect of urban and rural habitats and resource type on activity budgets of commensal rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Bangladesh. Primates, 54(1), 49–59. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-012-0330-6.
Kansky, R., & Knight, A. T. (2014). Key factors driving attitudes towards large mammals in conflict with humans. Biological Conservation, 179, 93–105.
Knight, J. (2000). Natural enemies: People-wildlife conflicts in anthropological perspective. Routledge.
Lafleur, M., & Gould, L. (2009). Feeding outside the forest: The importance of crop raiding and an invasive weed in the diet of gallery forest ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) following a cyclone at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar. Folia Primatologica, 80(3), 233–246. https://doi.org/10.1159/000240968.
Lemessa, D., Hylander, K., & Hambäck, P. (2013). Composition of crops and land-use types in relation to crop raiding pattern at different distances from forests. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 167, 71–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2012.12.014.
Li, W., & Essen, E. V. (2020). Guarding crops from monkey troops: farmer-monkey interaction near a nature reserve in Guangxi, China. Environmental Sociology, 7(1), 12–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/23251042.2020.1811004.
Linkie, M., Dinata, Y., Nofrianto, A., & Leader-Williams, N. (2007). Patterns and perceptions of wildlife crop raiding in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra. Animal Conservation, 10(1), 127–135. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2006.00083.x.
Manly, B.F.J., McDonald, L.L., Thomas, D.L., McDonald, T.L., Erickson, W.P., (2002). Resource Selection by Animals: Statistical Design and Analysis for Field Studies (2nd ed). Kluwer Academic Publishers.
McGarigal, K. (2015). FRAGSTATS help. http://www.umass.edu/landeco/research/fragstats/documents/fragstats.help.4.2.pdf
Meijaard, E., Buchori, D., Hadiprakarsa, Y., Utami-Atmoko, S. S., Nurcahyo, A., Tjiu, A., Prasetyo, D., Nardiyono, Christie, L., Ancrenaz, M., Abadi, F., Antoni, I. N. G., Armayadi, D., Dinato, A., Ella, Gumelar, P., Indrawan, T. P., Kussaritano, Munajat, C., Priyono, C. W. P., et al. (2011). Quantifying killing of orangutans and human-orangutan conflict in Kalimantan, Indonesia. PLoS ONE, 6(11), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027491
Mekonnen, A., Fashing, P. J., Bekele, A., Hernandez-Aguilar, R. A., Rueness, E. K., Nguyen, N., & Stenseth, N. C. (2017). Impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on the activity budget, ranging ecology and habitat use of Bale monkeys (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) in the southern Ethiopian Highlands. American Journal of Primatology, 79(7), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22644.
Mekonnen, A., Fashing, P. J., Bekele, A., & Stenseth, N. C. (2020). Use of cultivated foods and matrix habitat by Bale monkeys in forest fragments: Assessing local human attitudes and perceptions. American Journal of Primatology, 82(4), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23074.
Mikich, S. B., & Liebsch, D. (2014). Assessment of food supplementation and surveillance as techniques to reduce damage caused by black capuchin monkeys Sapajus nigritus to forest plantations. Current Zoology, 60(5), 581–590. https://doi.org/10.1093/czoolo/60.5.581.
Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change. (2017). Notification for declaration of rhesus macaque as a vermin species. http://hpforest.nic.in/upload/contents/File-148.pdf
Mishra, C. (1997). Livestock depredation by large carnivores in the Indian trans-Himalaya: conflict perceptions and conservation prospects. Environmental Conservation, 24, 338–343. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0376892997000441.
Mochizuki, S., & Murakami, T. (2011a). Change in habitat selection by Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) and habitat fragmentation analysis using temporal remotely sensed data in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 13(4), 562–571. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jag.2011.02.006.
Mochizuki, S., & Murakami, T. (2011b). The influence of forest boundary shape and environmental variables on farmland invasion by wild Japanese macaques. Journal of Forest Planning, 16, 223–231.
Mochizuki, S., & Murakami, T. (2013). Scale dependent effects in resource selection by crop-raiding Japanese macaques in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Applied Geography, 42, 13–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.04.016.
Naughton-Treves, L., & Treves, A. (2005) Socio-ecological factors shaping local support for wildlife: Crop-raiding by elephants and other wildlife in Africa. In R. Woodroffe, S. Thirgood, & A. Rabinowitz (Eds.), People and wildlife: Conflict or coexistence? (pp. 253–277). Cambridge University Press.
Nekaris, K. A. I., Boulton, A., & Nijman, V. (2013). An ethnoprimatological approach to assessing levels of tolerance between human and commensal non-human primates in Sri Lanka. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 91, 219–231. https://doi.org/10.4436/JASS.91008.
Onderdonk, D. A., & Chapman, C. A. (2000). Coping with forest fragmentation: The primates of Kibale National Park, Uganda. International Journal of Primatology, 21(4), 587–611. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005509119693.
Pebsworth, P., & Radhakrishna, S. (2020). Using conditioned taste aversion to reduce human-nonhuman primate conflict: A comparison of four potentially illness-inducing drugs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 225(May 2019), 104948. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2020.104948.
Pozo-Montuy, G., Serio-Silva, J. C., Chapman, C. A., & Bonilla-Sánchez, Y. M. (2013). Resource use in a landscape matrix by an arboreal primate: Evidence of supplementation in black howlers (Alouatta pigra). International Journal of Primatology, 34(4), 714–731. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-013-9691-y.
Priston, N. E. C., & McLennan, M. R. (2013). Managing humans, managing macaques: Human–macaque conflict in Asia and Africa. In S. Radhakrishna, M. A. Huffman, & A. Sinha (Eds.), The macaque connection: Cooperation and conflict between humans and macaques (pp. 225–250). Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. Springer Science+Business Media.
Raboy, B. E., Christman, M. C., & Dietz, J. M. (2004). The use of degraded and shade cocoa forests by Endangered golden-headed lion tamarins Leontopithecuschrysomelas. Oryx, 38(1), 75–83. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605304000122.
Radhakrishna, S., Huffman, M. A., & Sinha, A., Eds. (2013). The macaque connection: Cooperation and conflict between humans and macaques. Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. Springer Science+Business Media.
Regmi, G. R., Nekaris, K. A. I., Kandel, K., & Nijman, V. (2013). Crop-raiding macaques: Predictions, patterns and perceptions from Langtang National Park, Nepal. Endangered Species Research, 20(3), 217–226. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00502.
Riley, E. P. (2007). The human–macaque interface: Conservation implications of current and future overlap and conflict in Lore Lindu National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia. American Anthropologist, 109(3), 473–484. https://doi.org/10.1525/AA.2007.109.3.473.474.
Riley, E. P., & Wade, T. W. (2016). Adapting to Florida’s riverine woodlands: The population status and feeding ecology of the silver river rhesus macaques and their interface with humans. Primates, 57(2), 195–210. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-016-0517-3.
Ruppert, N., Holzner, A., See, K. W., Gisbrecht, A., & Beck, A. (2018). Activity budgets and habitat use of wild southern pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) in oil palm plantation and forest. International Journal of Primatology, 39, 237–251. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-018-0032-z.
Sahoo, S. K., & Mohnot, S. M. (2004). A survey of crop damage by rhesus monkeys and Hanuman langur in Himachal Pradesh, India. Tiger Paper, 31, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004.
Saj, T. L., Sicotte, P., & Paterson, J. D. (2001). The conflict between vervet monkeys and farmers at the forest edge in Entebbe, Uganda. African Journal of Ecology, 39(2), 195–199. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0141-6707.2000.00299.x.
Sambyal, P., Kumar, S., & Sahi, D. N. (2009). Translocation of urban rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) of Mubarak Mandi Jammu to forest areas of Nagrot. Tiger Paper, 36(2), 11–13.
Saraswat, R., Sinha, A., & Radhakrishna, S. (2015). A god becomes a pest? Human-rhesus macaque interactions in Himachal Pradesh, northern India. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 61, 435–443. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-015-0913-9.
Sengupta, A., McConkey, K. R., & Radhakrishna, S. (2015). Primates, provisioning and plants: Impacts of human cultural behaviours on primate ecological functions. PLoS ONE, 10(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140961.
Sengupta, A., & Radhakrishna, S. (2016). Influence of fruit availability on fruit consumption in a generalist primate, the rhesus macaque Macaca mulatta. International Journal of Primatology, 37(6), 703–717. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-016-9933-x.
Sillero-Zubiri, C., & Switzer, D. (2001). Crop raiding primates: searching for alternative, humane ways to resolve conflict with farmers in Africa. People and Wildlife Initiative. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University.www.peopleandwildlife.org.uk/crmanuals/CropRaidingPrimatesP&WManual
Singh, V., & Thakur, M. (2012). Rhesus macaque and associated problems in Himachal Pradesh-India. TAPROBANICA, 4(2), 112–116 http://www.sljol.info/index.php/TAPRO/article/viewFile/5066/4045.
Treves, A., Wallace, R. B., Naughton-Treves, L., & Morales, A. (2006). Co-managing human-wildlife conflicts: A review. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 11, 383–396.
Turner, M.G. & Gardner, R. H. (2015). Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice. Springer-Verlag.
Vandermeer, J. H., Ed. (2003). Tropical agroecosystems. CRC Press.
Warren, Y. (2008). Crop-raiding baboons (Papio anubis) and defensive farmers: A West African perspective. West African Journal of Applied Ecology, 14, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.4314/wajae.v14i1.44705.
Weibull, A. C., Östman, Ö., & Granqvist, Å. (2003). Species richness in agroecosystems: The effect of landscape, habitat and farm management. Biodiversity and Conservation, 12(7), 1335–1355. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023617117780.
Williams-Guillén, K., McCann, C., Martínez Sánchez, J. C., & Koontz, F. (2006). Resource availability and habitat use by mantled howling monkeys in a Nicaraguan coffee plantation: Can agroforests serve as core habitat for a forest mammal? Animal Conservation, 9(3), 331–338. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2006.00042.x.
Yamada, A., & Muroyama, Y. (2010). Effects of vegetation type on habitat use by crop-raiding Japanese macaques during a food-scarce season. Primates, 51(2), 159–166. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-009-0183-9.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to Vijay Raput and Jagdish Chand for their assistance in fieldwork. We are also extremely thankful for the support provided by all the villagers in our study area during the period of field data collection. SA was supported by an institutional fellowship from National Institute of Advanced Studies during the period of this study.
Handling Editor: Joanna M. Setchell.
About this article
Cite this article
Anand, S., Vaidyanathan, S. & Radhakrishna, S. The Role of Landscape Structure in Primate Crop Feeding: Insights from Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Northern India. Int J Primatol 42, 764–780 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-021-00238-y
- Deciduous vegetation
- Human-primate interaction
- Land use management
- Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta)