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 Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>