Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 8939–8948 | Cite as

Evaluating giant panda as a surrogate species for conservation co-occurring species in the Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve

  • Zhanlei Rong
  • Xingming Liu
  • Chuanyan ZhaoEmail author
  • Liwen He
  • Junjie Liu
  • Yunfei Gao
  • Fei Zang
  • Haojie Xu
  • Zhaoxia Guo
  • Yahua Mao
Research Article


The establishment of nature reserves is a key approach for biodiversity conservation worldwide. However, the effectiveness of nature reserves established by protecting the habitat needs of surrogate species is questioned. In this study, the Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve (Baishuijiang NNR), located in the Minshan Mountains, China, which is established mainly for the conservation of giant panda (a surrogate for the conservation of other endangered species) was selected. We quantitatively evaluated the conservation effectiveness of the reserve for giant panda and co-occurring species (here, seven protected species) using a maximum entropy model (Maxent), and analyzed spatial congruence between giant panda and other seven species. Results shown that the habitat of giant panda generally included the habitat of other seven protected species, suggesting that conservation of giant panda habitat also allows the conservation for the habitat of almost co-occurring species. Hence, the natural reserve established for giant panda as a surrogate species has a relatively high effectiveness. A high proportion of the suitable habitat for six species is inside the core zone, but a high proportion of the suitable habitat for two species is located in the experimental and buffer zones. Thus, the two species are affected by human activities. To improve the conservation effectiveness of the nature reserve, the management zones need to be amended. The result of the study will be beneficial for future conservation and management of the reserve. This study provides an effective method for evaluating the conservation effectiveness of nature reserves in other area of the worldwide.


Giant panda Habitat suitability Maximum entropy model Surrogate species Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve 


Funding information

The research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91025015, 51178209) and Project of Arid Meteorological Science Research Foundation of China Meteorological Administration (IAM201608).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhanlei Rong
    • 1
  • Xingming Liu
    • 2
  • Chuanyan Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liwen He
    • 2
  • Junjie Liu
    • 3
  • Yunfei Gao
    • 3
  • Fei Zang
    • 1
  • Haojie Xu
    • 1
  • Zhaoxia Guo
    • 1
  • Yahua Mao
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems; Key Laboratory of Grassland Livestock Industry Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs; College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and TechnologyLanzhou UniversityLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Gansu Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve Management BureauWenxianPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems, School of Life SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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