Assessment of giant panda habitat in the Daxiangling Mountain Range, Sichuan, China


Weihua Xu, Zhiyun Ouyang, Zeyin Jiang, Hua Zheng, Jianguo Liu

Journal or Book Title: Biodiversity Science (in Chinese)

Keywords: Ailuropoda melanoleuca, habitat suitability, Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), object-oriented image classification

Volume/Issue: 14/3

Page Number(s): 223-231

Year Published: 2006


The status of giant panda habitat is related directly to the panda’s survival and breeding. Based on field surveys and using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS), we studied the distribution, quality, spatial pattern, and conservation status of giant panda habitat in the Daxiangling Moun-tains, Sichuan. We selected altitude, slope, vegetation type, bamboo distribution, traffic, and residential area as evaluating criteria. Remote Sensing data showed that deciduous and conifer forest, which were closely as-sociated with giant panda habitat, occupied the largest area of 344,970 hm2, accounting for 58.4% of the total study area, while shrub land occupied 18.4% and other vegetation types 23.2%. A comprehensive evaluation showed that the potential habitat in the Daxiangling Mountains was 118,749 hm2. However, much of the habitat was affected by exploitation of forest, mining, traffic, and agricultural activities, so that only 93,115 hm2 remained suitable. Moreover, the remaining habitat was separated into two fragments by roads, which caused failure of exchange between Yinghe Panda Group and Wawushan Panda Group. In total, the current nature reserve has protected only 28.0% of the entire habitat. For effective protection of giant pandas in this area, three aspects should be strengthened: (1) extending boundaries of the nature reserve to protect most of the giant panda habitat; (2) improving dispersal between giant panda populations through reforestation; and (3) at the altitudes of 1,800–2,700 m, controlling human activities to decrease impacts on giant panda habitat.

DOI: 10.1360/biodiv.050191

Type of Publication: Journal Article