Crop loss can undermine human welfare, conservation efforts and have an economic and social cost. This study was conducted to assess crop raiding and attitudes of farmers towards wildlife conservation along distance gradient from the forest edge, to surrounding the agricultural landscape of Yayu coffee forest biosphere reserve, south west Ethiopia. To conduct the data a total of thirty transects each 1km long, with 200m interval between transects, were laid out from forest edge towards agricultural landscape and 124Households were randomly selected for a questionnaire survey, and focus group discussion was held with 8-12households. On each of the transects three to four in a total (124) homegardens were randomly selected. The perception of the respondents on crop raiding and wildlife conservation at different distances from forest edges were tested with Pearson’s Chi-square test and the mean species richness in home gardens was tested with One-way ANOVA. The study result indicated that there was a significant spatial variation of crop raiding across the landscape in home gardens (p=0.001), frequency of crop raiding shows decreasing trend with increasing distance from the forest edge. Majority of the farmers close to forest edge have negative feeling to Wildlife’s, due to heavy crop loss. To mitigate crop raiding caused by wild animals, farmers nearest to the forest edge should change their farming practices. Further study is needed to find alternative crop species, which is less palatable to crop raiders and could grow in the agro climatic condition of the area.
Keywords: agricultural landscape; biosphere reserve; forest edge; species richness