Measures of giant panda habitat selection across multiple spatial scales for species conservation

Authors

  • Dunwu Qi,

    1. Key Laboratory for Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1-5 Beichenxi Road, Beijing 100101, China
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  • Shanning Zhang,

    1. China Wildlife Conservation Association, 18 Hepinglidong Street, Beijing 100714, China
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  • Zejun Zhang,

    1. Key Laboratory for Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1-5 Beichenxi Road, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Institute of Rare Animals and Plants, China West Normal University, Nanchong, Sichuan 637002, China
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  • Yibo Hu,

    1. Key Laboratory for Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1-5 Beichenxi Road, Beijing 100101, China
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  • Xuyu Yang,

    1. Sichuan Forestry Department, Wildlife Conservation Division, 610081 Chengdu, Sichuan, China
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  • Hongjia Wang,

    1. Sichuan Forestry Department, Wildlife Conservation Division, 610081 Chengdu, Sichuan, China
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  • Fuwen Wei

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory for Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1-5 Beichenxi Road, Beijing 100101, China
    • Key Laboratory for Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1-5 Beichenxi Road, Beijing 100101, China.
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  • Associate Editor: Henry Campa III

Abstract

Examining ecological processes across spatial scales is crucial as animals select and use resources at different scales. We carried out field surveys in September 2005, March–September 2006, and April 2007, and used ecological niche factor analysis to determine habitat preferences for the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) across 4 spatial scales: daily movement, core range, home range, and seasonal elevational migration. We found that giant pandas prefer conifer forest and mixed forest at higher than average elevation (2,157 m) of study area in the 4 scale models. However, we also observed significant scale differences in habitat selection. The strength of habitat preference increased with scale for the 2 disturbed forests (sparse forest and fragmented forest), and decreased with scale for 0–30° gentle slope and south- and north-facing aspect. Furthermore, habitat suitability patterns were scale-dependent. These findings highlight the need to determine species–environment associations across multiple scales for habitat management and species conservation. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.

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