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Habitat correlates of the red panda in the temperate forests of Bhutan.

Dorji S, Vernes K, Rajaratnam R - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Anthropogenic activities and associated global climate change are threatening the biodiversity in the Himalayas against a backdrop of poor knowledge of the region's threatened species.At a finer scale, multivariate analysis revealed that red pandas were strongly associated with old growth Bhutan Fir (Abies densa) forest dominated by a dense cover of Yushania and Arundanaria bamboo with a high density of fallen logs and tree stumps at ground level; a high density of trees, dead snags, and rhododendron shrubs in the mid-storey; and locations that were close to water.As such, careful sustainable management of Bhutan's temperate forests is necessary if a balance is to be met between the socioeconomic needs of people and the conservation goals for red pandas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Jigme Dorji National Park, Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan.

ABSTRACT
Anthropogenic activities and associated global climate change are threatening the biodiversity in the Himalayas against a backdrop of poor knowledge of the region's threatened species. The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a threatened mammal confined to the eastern Himalayas, and because of Bhutan's central location in the distributional range of red pandas, its forests are integral to the long-term viability of wild populations. Detailed habitat requirements of the red panda are largely speculative, and there is virtually no ecological information available on this species in Bhutan. Between 2007 and 2009, we established 615 presence/absence plots in a systematic sampling of resident habitat types within Jigme Dorji and Thrumshingla National Parks, Bhutan, to investigate broad and fine-scale red panda habitat associations. Additional locality records of red pandas were obtained from interviewing 664 park residents. Red pandas were generally confined to cool broadleaf and conifer forests from 2,110-4,389 m above sea level (asl), with the majority of records between 2,400-3,700 m asl on south and east-facing slopes. At a finer scale, multivariate analysis revealed that red pandas were strongly associated with old growth Bhutan Fir (Abies densa) forest dominated by a dense cover of Yushania and Arundanaria bamboo with a high density of fallen logs and tree stumps at ground level; a high density of trees, dead snags, and rhododendron shrubs in the mid-storey; and locations that were close to water. Because Bhutan's temperate forests that encompass prime red panda habitat are also integral to human subsistence and socio-economic development, there exists an inadvertent conflict between the needs of people and red pandas. As such, careful sustainable management of Bhutan's temperate forests is necessary if a balance is to be met between the socioeconomic needs of people and the conservation goals for red pandas.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Box and whiskers plots comparing median (dark line), range (box), lower and upper quartile (whiskers) and outliers (open circles) of habitat variables in ‘Presence’ (plots where red panda were detected) and ‘Absence’ plots for (a) altitude; (b) slope; (c) bamboo cover (d) bamboo height; (e) canopy cover; and (f) distance to water.
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pone-0026483-g002: Box and whiskers plots comparing median (dark line), range (box), lower and upper quartile (whiskers) and outliers (open circles) of habitat variables in ‘Presence’ (plots where red panda were detected) and ‘Absence’ plots for (a) altitude; (b) slope; (c) bamboo cover (d) bamboo height; (e) canopy cover; and (f) distance to water.

Mentions: From November 2007 to April 2008, we conducted preliminary surveys for red pandas in Thrumshingla National Park, Bhutan, to obtain base-line information on red panda occurrence in resident forest types and at various elevations. We then used these surveys to establish sampling plots for subsequent evaluation of micro-habitat association in Thrumshingla and Jigme Dorji National Park between December 2007 and December 2009 (see Fig. 1). Red pandas were present in 1.5% (n = 5) of the 339 random survey plots in Thrumshingla. Detections were in cool broadleaf forest (0. 3%; n = 1) and conifer forest (1.2%; n = 4) ranging from 2980–3685 m asl (Fig. 2). We did not detect red pandas in subtropical forest, warm broadleaf forest and alpine meadows. Presence of red pandas in cool broadleaf forest and conifer forest was supported by questionnaire surveys conducted on park residents. Out of 324 questionnaires, 11.7% (n = 38) of respondents could positively identify a red panda and had sighted an individual, with 2.6% (n = 1) and 97.4% (n = 37) of the sightings made in cool broadleaf forest and conifer forest, respectively. Questionnaire surveys in Jigme Dorji revealed similar habitat affiliations. Out of 340 questionnaires, 15.9% (n = 54) of respondents could positively identify a red panda and had sighted an individual, with 42.6% (n = 23) and 57.4% (n = 31) of the sightings made in cool broadleaf forest and conifer forest, respectively.


Habitat correlates of the red panda in the temperate forests of Bhutan.

Dorji S, Vernes K, Rajaratnam R - PLoS ONE (2011)

Box and whiskers plots comparing median (dark line), range (box), lower and upper quartile (whiskers) and outliers (open circles) of habitat variables in ‘Presence’ (plots where red panda were detected) and ‘Absence’ plots for (a) altitude; (b) slope; (c) bamboo cover (d) bamboo height; (e) canopy cover; and (f) distance to water.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198399&req=5

pone-0026483-g002: Box and whiskers plots comparing median (dark line), range (box), lower and upper quartile (whiskers) and outliers (open circles) of habitat variables in ‘Presence’ (plots where red panda were detected) and ‘Absence’ plots for (a) altitude; (b) slope; (c) bamboo cover (d) bamboo height; (e) canopy cover; and (f) distance to water.
Mentions: From November 2007 to April 2008, we conducted preliminary surveys for red pandas in Thrumshingla National Park, Bhutan, to obtain base-line information on red panda occurrence in resident forest types and at various elevations. We then used these surveys to establish sampling plots for subsequent evaluation of micro-habitat association in Thrumshingla and Jigme Dorji National Park between December 2007 and December 2009 (see Fig. 1). Red pandas were present in 1.5% (n = 5) of the 339 random survey plots in Thrumshingla. Detections were in cool broadleaf forest (0. 3%; n = 1) and conifer forest (1.2%; n = 4) ranging from 2980–3685 m asl (Fig. 2). We did not detect red pandas in subtropical forest, warm broadleaf forest and alpine meadows. Presence of red pandas in cool broadleaf forest and conifer forest was supported by questionnaire surveys conducted on park residents. Out of 324 questionnaires, 11.7% (n = 38) of respondents could positively identify a red panda and had sighted an individual, with 2.6% (n = 1) and 97.4% (n = 37) of the sightings made in cool broadleaf forest and conifer forest, respectively. Questionnaire surveys in Jigme Dorji revealed similar habitat affiliations. Out of 340 questionnaires, 15.9% (n = 54) of respondents could positively identify a red panda and had sighted an individual, with 42.6% (n = 23) and 57.4% (n = 31) of the sightings made in cool broadleaf forest and conifer forest, respectively.

Bottom Line: Anthropogenic activities and associated global climate change are threatening the biodiversity in the Himalayas against a backdrop of poor knowledge of the region's threatened species.At a finer scale, multivariate analysis revealed that red pandas were strongly associated with old growth Bhutan Fir (Abies densa) forest dominated by a dense cover of Yushania and Arundanaria bamboo with a high density of fallen logs and tree stumps at ground level; a high density of trees, dead snags, and rhododendron shrubs in the mid-storey; and locations that were close to water.As such, careful sustainable management of Bhutan's temperate forests is necessary if a balance is to be met between the socioeconomic needs of people and the conservation goals for red pandas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Jigme Dorji National Park, Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan.

ABSTRACT
Anthropogenic activities and associated global climate change are threatening the biodiversity in the Himalayas against a backdrop of poor knowledge of the region's threatened species. The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a threatened mammal confined to the eastern Himalayas, and because of Bhutan's central location in the distributional range of red pandas, its forests are integral to the long-term viability of wild populations. Detailed habitat requirements of the red panda are largely speculative, and there is virtually no ecological information available on this species in Bhutan. Between 2007 and 2009, we established 615 presence/absence plots in a systematic sampling of resident habitat types within Jigme Dorji and Thrumshingla National Parks, Bhutan, to investigate broad and fine-scale red panda habitat associations. Additional locality records of red pandas were obtained from interviewing 664 park residents. Red pandas were generally confined to cool broadleaf and conifer forests from 2,110-4,389 m above sea level (asl), with the majority of records between 2,400-3,700 m asl on south and east-facing slopes. At a finer scale, multivariate analysis revealed that red pandas were strongly associated with old growth Bhutan Fir (Abies densa) forest dominated by a dense cover of Yushania and Arundanaria bamboo with a high density of fallen logs and tree stumps at ground level; a high density of trees, dead snags, and rhododendron shrubs in the mid-storey; and locations that were close to water. Because Bhutan's temperate forests that encompass prime red panda habitat are also integral to human subsistence and socio-economic development, there exists an inadvertent conflict between the needs of people and red pandas. As such, careful sustainable management of Bhutan's temperate forests is necessary if a balance is to be met between the socioeconomic needs of people and the conservation goals for red pandas.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus