Individual study: Cutting trees in a secondary forest to increase gaur Bos gaurus numbers in Khao Phaeng Ma Reforestation area, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand
Prayong N. & Srikosamatara S. (2017) Cutting trees in a secondary forest to increase gaur Bos gaurus numbers in Khao Phaeng Ma Reforestation area, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand. Conservation Evidence, 14, 5-9
The value of tourism for gaur Bos gaurus in the Khao Phang Ma reforestation area at the edge of Khao Yai – Dong Phaya Yen World Heritage Site decreased when a large number of gaurs moved away from the watching area of the former grassland in the middle of the secondary forest. A major cause appeared to be an increase in the number and size of pioneer trees Macaranga siamensis that overshadowed their food patches. We constructed a 5.7 ha pilot plot where 407 pioneer trees were cut down in an attempt to attract gaurs back to the area. Since tree cutting was a controversial practice, especially with the local people, we engaged with, and were supported by, a local non-governmental organization throughout the process. We monitored the density of gaurs using the total counts of dung piles. The estimated density of gaurs was significantly higher in the pilot plot compared with an adjacent control plot (8.62 individuals/km2/day versus 3.95 individuals/km2/day), demonstrating a positive impact of tree felling in attracting this species back to an area.