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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

A relative frequency circular histogram of red panda occurrence according to aspect of plots.Heavy lines indicate the frequency occurrence of aspects of ‘animal presence’ plots (plots where red panda were detected), with the black arrow showing the mean aspect of these plots.
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pone-0026483-g003: A relative frequency circular histogram of red panda occurrence according to aspect of plots.Heavy lines indicate the frequency occurrence of aspects of ‘animal presence’ plots (plots where red panda were detected), with the black arrow showing the mean aspect of these plots.

Mentions: Animal-presence plots were characterised by a mean (± s.d.) altitude of 3342±463 m (Fig. 2a) mean (± s.d.) slope of 34±16° (Fig. 2b), mean (± s.d.) bamboo cover of 45±24% (Fig. 2c), mean (± s.d.) bamboo height of 230±139 cm (Fig. 2d) and mean (± s.d.) canopy cover of 66±29% (Fig. 2e). More than 70% of red panda droppings were encountered within 100 m of a water source, while 95% were within 150 m of a water source (overall mean ± s.d. = 80±46 m, Fig. 2f). Red pandas also displayed a significant association with easterly and southerly slopes, compared to northerly or westerly slopes (Χ2 = 21, df = 6; p = 0.02; Fig. 3).


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

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

A relative frequency circular histogram of red panda occurrence according to aspect of plots.Heavy lines indicate the frequency occurrence of aspects of ‘animal presence’ plots (plots where red panda were detected), with the black arrow showing the mean aspect of these plots.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0026483-g003: A relative frequency circular histogram of red panda occurrence according to aspect of plots.Heavy lines indicate the frequency occurrence of aspects of ‘animal presence’ plots (plots where red panda were detected), with the black arrow showing the mean aspect of these plots.
Mentions: Animal-presence plots were characterised by a mean (± s.d.) altitude of 3342±463 m (Fig. 2a) mean (± s.d.) slope of 34±16° (Fig. 2b), mean (± s.d.) bamboo cover of 45±24% (Fig. 2c), mean (± s.d.) bamboo height of 230±139 cm (Fig. 2d) and mean (± s.d.) canopy cover of 66±29% (Fig. 2e). More than 70% of red panda droppings were encountered within 100 m of a water source, while 95% were within 150 m of a water source (overall mean ± s.d. = 80±46 m, Fig. 2f). Red pandas also displayed a significant association with easterly and southerly slopes, compared to northerly or westerly slopes (Χ2 = 21, df = 6; p = 0.02; Fig. 3).

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