I share a 15 acre plot in South India bordering the forest with two other friends. Of late the incidence of elephants coming onto the land has increased exponentially -- they came every night from september to february this year! They mostly come to get to my neighbour's farm who grows lots of bamboo sugarcane and jackfruit, all of which they love. There is also a stream between my neighbour and I that they visit but they have their own water source in the forest and that is not what they come for. I am happy to give them open reign but hope to do a bit of farming on the side. Farmers in the region have successfully grown pepper on silver oak and coffee...they do not harm the people or houses, only coming for fruit and food that they like.
Does anybody have any experience with elephants and farming with them?? We are in the process of building our house and will start tree planting in August before the monsoon -- would love some help!! any advice is welcome! we are doing eahworks now and im constantly worried my swales and berms etc are all going to be trampled on by them :/
Look up Permaculture HA-HA fences. Basically a 2-3 meter wide ditch with very steep sides, elephants stay on one side and your farm or garden goes on the other.
Also do not over look the use of electric fencing, it has been effective in reducing human-elephant conflicts. The single largest problem you will have is the incredible sense of smell that an elephant has. Simply hiding desirable food items from view is not enough, you must also work to confuse their sense of smell and obscure the scent of the more desirable foods as well. Finally since they are already visiting you could also try to plant some of their favorites in other locations away from your farm (perhaps in the forest they come from) to help divert them away from your crops. I would imagine the Sepp Holzer "bone sauce" might be quite effective.
For best results I would HA-HA or electric fence my farm or garden area, both if possible. I would then plant lots of smelly plants out at the edges as well as interspersed throughout the garden. Beyond this I would work on creating the bone sauce and bone sauce everything I found reasonable at the borderline. I would then also work to plant some desirable food items for the elephants in a different location away from the farm or garden in a place of my choosing.
"Study books and observe nature. When the two don't agree, throw out the books" -William A Albrecht
"You cannot reason a man out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." - Benjamin Franklin