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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

Principle Component Analysis showing relationship between ‘animal presence’ (plots with red panda evidence) and ‘animal absence’ plots in conifer and cool broadleaf forests plots, in Jigme Dorji and Thrumshingla National Parks, Bhutan.
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pone-0026483-g004: Principle Component Analysis showing relationship between ‘animal presence’ (plots with red panda evidence) and ‘animal absence’ plots in conifer and cool broadleaf forests plots, in Jigme Dorji and Thrumshingla National Parks, Bhutan.

Mentions: To examine the importance of tree taxa to red pandas irrespective of habitat type, we generated an Important Value Index (IVI) of tree species in each plot irrespective of forest type. This analysis ranked Bhutan Fir (92.1), rhododendron (36.8), oak (22.4) and Castanopsis (16.4) as the four most important tree taxa in our study areas. A Principle Component Analysis (PCA) on pooled data between cool broadleaf forest and conifer forest narrowed habitat variables into three principle components that explained 71.4% of the total variance. PC1 explained 45.9% of the total variation, which was attributed to bamboo cover and bamboo height, with both bamboo cover and height decreasing along this axis (Table 3, Fig. 4). PC2 explained 13.8% of total variance and was attributed to decreasing values in altitude, mid-stem fir, large-stem fir, rhododendrons, tree stumps and snags, and logs but with an increase in distance to water and number of oak trees along the axis. This axis therefore largely distinguishes cool broadleaf forest plots at the positive end of the axis, and conifer forest plots at the negative end (Table 3, Fig. 4). PC3 explained 11.7% of the total variation with distance to water, large stem fir, rhododendrons, logs and bamboo height increasing along the axis (Table 3, Fig. 4).


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

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

Principle Component Analysis showing relationship between ‘animal presence’ (plots with red panda evidence) and ‘animal absence’ plots in conifer and cool broadleaf forests plots, in Jigme Dorji and Thrumshingla National Parks, Bhutan.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0026483-g004: Principle Component Analysis showing relationship between ‘animal presence’ (plots with red panda evidence) and ‘animal absence’ plots in conifer and cool broadleaf forests plots, in Jigme Dorji and Thrumshingla National Parks, Bhutan.
Mentions: To examine the importance of tree taxa to red pandas irrespective of habitat type, we generated an Important Value Index (IVI) of tree species in each plot irrespective of forest type. This analysis ranked Bhutan Fir (92.1), rhododendron (36.8), oak (22.4) and Castanopsis (16.4) as the four most important tree taxa in our study areas. A Principle Component Analysis (PCA) on pooled data between cool broadleaf forest and conifer forest narrowed habitat variables into three principle components that explained 71.4% of the total variance. PC1 explained 45.9% of the total variation, which was attributed to bamboo cover and bamboo height, with both bamboo cover and height decreasing along this axis (Table 3, Fig. 4). PC2 explained 13.8% of total variance and was attributed to decreasing values in altitude, mid-stem fir, large-stem fir, rhododendrons, tree stumps and snags, and logs but with an increase in distance to water and number of oak trees along the axis. This axis therefore largely distinguishes cool broadleaf forest plots at the positive end of the axis, and conifer forest plots at the negative end (Table 3, Fig. 4). PC3 explained 11.7% of the total variation with distance to water, large stem fir, rhododendrons, logs and bamboo height increasing along the axis (Table 3, Fig. 4).

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