Effects of fuelwood collection and timber harvesting on giant panda habitat use

Journal or Book Title: Biological Conservation

Keywords: Logging; Giant Panda; Habitat Use; Fuelwood Collection; Timber Harvesting; Classification tree analysis; Adaptive cluster sampling; Autologistic models

Volume/Issue: 141/2

Page Number(s): 385-393

Year Published: 2008


Timber harvesting and fuelwood collection have dramatically reduced the total amount of forestland around the world, including in China. To understand how timber harvesting and fuelwood collection activities affect use by wildlife, we examined giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) use within Wolong Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province, southwest China. We evaluated giant panda use of habitat by observing the presence/absence of panda feces in 913 field plots. Newly harvested areas (0–10 years) had the lowest frequency of feces presence (3%), while unharvested forests had the highest (36%). Feces presence is influenced
by bamboo cover, overstory and midstory composition, slope, aspect and distance to human activity. Results suggest that timber harvesting and fuelwood collection have important impacts on the use of forested habitats and panda use is reduced for several decades after harvests. However, as the forest regenerates, panda habitat may begin to recover after a period of at least 37 years. This has potential implications for the long-term conservation of panda habitats and suggests that if forestland is maintained via the Natural Forest Conservation Program (China’s logging ban), habitats that were previously harvested may eventually regenerate and increase the potential for the species long-term survival

DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2007.10.009

Type of Publication: Journal Article