Impacts of Demographic and Socioeconomic Factors on Spatio-temporal Dynamics of Panda Habitat

Journal or Book Title: Biodiversity and Conservation

Keywords: Agent-based modeling; Giant panda conservation; Households; Human demography; Socioeconomics; Spatial dynamics

Volume/Issue: 15

Page Number(s): 2343-2363

Year Published: 2006


Demographic and socioeconomic factors of individual people and households may have significant impacts on their environment, which in turn may affect the spatio-temporal dynamics of wildlife habitat and local biodiversity. In the Wolong Nature Reserve (China) for giant panda conservation, local households live a rural lifestyle that has caused forest degradation by activities such as cutting fuelwood. Based on field data and a spatial agent-based model that integrates cross-scale data and cross-discipline models, we examine how panda habitat would respond to changes in a set of socioeconomic and demographic factors individually, and under a conservation scenario and a development scenario (setting factors to values that would benefit or degrade habitat, respectively). The model simulates each family members life history (including needs, attitudes, and activities) and the household agents interactions with each other and with the environment through their activities over 30 years. Our simulations show that among all the factors under consideration, providing cheaper electricity and changing the age structure through increasing marriage age or prolonging the interval between consecutive births could change habitat quantity significantly (at ? = 0.05 level); and the differences in panda habitat between the two scenarios escalate over time. In addition to benefiting local policy-making, this study provides a new approach to studying human–environment interactions from the perspectives of individual needs and decisions.

DOI: 10.1007/s10531-004-1064-6

Type of Publication: Journal Article