Following human colonisation, large areas of forest on São Tomé were cleared for cultivation, with 42 percent of the land being given to cocoa cultivation (5). During the 1970s, enormous quantities of pesticides were used in these cocoa plantations, greatly reducing the population of the oriole. The oriole had some chance to recover when, following a crash in cocoa prices in 1975, many cocoa plantations were abandoned and the land regenerated into secondary forest, providing suitable habitat for several endemic birds, including the São Tomé oriole (5). However, the oriole population has not fully recovered from these declines and is constantly threatened by the possibility of old plantations being brought back into production, or developed for different types of agriculture, which would almost certainly involve an increase in pesticide use (5).
The montane primary forest of the island is at immediate risk from encroaching agriculture, and any further loss of this vital habitat would seriously endanger the São Tomé oriole (5). Secondary forest on Sao Tome is also threatened by the development of agriculture and an increasing demand for timber (5). In addition, the development of roads on the island is opening up previously remote areas (2), increasing the chance of habitat loss and degradation.