Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Best chance to protect giant pandas

26.03.2003


At only about 1,000 in the wild, China’s giant panda is among the most endangered species in the world. But there is still hope if we act fast. The panda’s greatest threat is habitat loss and new research identifies high-quality habitat that, if protected, could increase the species’ chances of long-term survival.



"The current network of nature reserves provides protection for less than half of the pandas’ remaining habitat and fails to conserve essential habitat for dispersal," say Colby Loucks and Eric Dinerstein of the World Wildlife Fund-US in Washington DC, and four co-authors in the April issue of Conservation Biology. The giant panda’s range has shrunk from the lowland forests of southeast China, northern Vietnam and northern Myanmar to six mountain ranges along China’s Tibetan Plateau, where only 24 isolated populations survive today. Now, however, there is a window of opportunity to protect more of the panda’s habitat, thanks to two conservation policies recently adopted by the Chinese government to help control flooding. First, under the National Forest Conservation Program, logging is banned in natural forests until 2010; and second, the Grain-to-Green policy is restoring forests on steep agricultural lands. These policies "have the potential to protect and restore panda habitat across the panda’s entire range," say Loucks, Dinerstein and their colleagues.

Giant pandas need both high- and low-elevation forests as well as dispersal corridors. They need both types of forest because each supplies their primary food during part of the year: during the summer, pandas eat a kind of bamboo that grows at high elevations; and during the rest of the year, they eat another kind that grows at low elevations.


To help identify unprotected areas that are critical to the giant pandas’ survival, Loucks, Dinerstein and their colleagues mapped the extent and quality of their habitat in China’s Qinling Mountains, which have about a fifth of the remaining wild population. The researchers used satellite images and other existing data to determine the extent of remaining natural forest that could support pandas, and divided it into core and secondary habitat. The former has both of the bamboo species that pandas depend on, while the latter only has one of them.

Loucks, Dinerstein and their colleagues calculated that the Qinling Mountains have nearly 900 square miles of forest that could support pandas. While nearly 700 square miles of this is core habitat, it is fragmented into four parts and less than half of it is protected by the existing network of nature reserves. The researchers identified five unprotected areas totalling about 400 square miles that should be added to the existing reserves: three core areas and two linkage zones, which would let pandas get from one core area to another.

Next, the researchers call for identifying unprotected giant panda habitat in the other five mountain ranges where the species still survives. "Most are so remote that there are no people or infrastructure development there," says Dinerstein, which increases the chances of saving the pandas.

Loucks’ co-authors are: Lu Zhi, who did this work while at the World Wide Fund for Nature-China in Beijing and is now at the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund in Beijing; and Wang Dajun, Fu Dali and Wang Hao of the Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center in Beijing, China.


###
CONTACT:
Colby Loucks (202-778-9671, colby.loucks@wwfus.org)
Eric Dinerstein (202-778-9616, edinerstein@wwfus.org)

Colby Loucks | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.worldwildlife.org/pandas/
http://conservationbiology.org/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>