ORIGINAL RESEARCH
20 Years of Evolutionary Analysis of Giant Panda Habitat Using Ecological Landscape Patterns of Xiaohegou Nature Reserve
Chao Zhang1,2, Shuang Wu3, Dan Zhao1,2, Quan Guo4, Peihao Peng1,2
 
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1College of Earth Sciences, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, 610059, China
2Institute of Ecological Resources and Landscape Architecture,
Chengdu University of Technology College, Chengdu, 610059, China
3Sichuan Provincial Academy of Surveying Engineering Coalfield, Chengdu, 610072, China
4College of Environment & Ecology, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361002, China
Publish date: 2015-05-20
Submission date: 2014-11-26
Final revision date: 2015-01-10
Acceptance date: 2015-01-11
 
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2015;24(3):1401–1411
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ABSTRACT
Discovering how to best protect one of the most endangered animals in the world, giant pandas, has always been an important project in ecological studies. Moreover, researching the living environments of giant pandas and how to recover them is one of the most important elements to these studies. In order to more effectively protect the giant pandas and their habitats, we studied the changing of Xiaohegou nature reserve landscape for 20 years, from 1994 to 2014, based on the landscape ecology theory and “3S” techniques (geographic information systems, GIS; remote sensing, RS; global navigation satellite system, GNSS). Specifically, this paper analyzes factors such as landscape fragmentation, connectivity, disturbance degree, landscape diversity, etc. Accordingly, the research presented divides giant panda habitat into nine landscape types that include: evergreen deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest, secondary broadleaved forest, mixed coniferous and deciduous broad-leaved forests, and coniferous forest, et al. The results show that:
1) before establishing the Xiaohegou Nature Reserve in 1993, deforestation was a serious problem, as the results from the 1994 landscape fragmentation suggest.
2) Logging was rampant before the implementation of the national natural forest protection project that began in 1998. Severe damage was observed on the coniferous forest in giant panda habitat. Yet, from the high level of fragmentation that was observed in the connectivity of giant panda habitat, the results suggest 1994 was the worst. After more than ten years of recovery, from 2001 to 2014, the situation of regarding the habitat’s connectivity appears better than previous years.
3) The habitat has been impacted heavily by human disturbance from 1994 to 2001, although it has shown a slight decrease in this tendency from 2001 to 2014.
4) In the past 20 years, both the diversity and evenness indexes are showing a slow drop tendency.
5) This paper analyzes the changing situation regarding the land category evolution of giant panda habitats.
Coniferous forests, the main habitat of giant pandas, decreased 6.37 hm2 during these 5 years, with a rate of decrease at 1.27 hm2 per annum from 1994 to 1998. In the years that followed, however, the coniferous forest recovered 4.21 hm2 over the course of 15 years at the rate of 0.28 hm2 per annum from 1999 to 2014, providing a reference for further nature reserve policy development.
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ISSN:1230-1485