Comparison of microhabitat selection and trace abundance of giant pandas between primary and secondary forests in Liziping Nature Reserve, China: effects of selective logging
The giant panda is an iconic forest-dwelling conservation species worldwide. Preservation of forests is considered essential to keep their populations sustainable in the wild. However, little effort has been made to uncover effects of selective logging on their abundance and habitat selection. In this research, we conducted a field survey during May-November 2012 in Liziping National Nature Reserve, China, to compare trace abundance and microhabitat selection by giant pandas in primary and secondary forests. Our results indicated that forest structure varied significantly in selectively logged forests, especially for tree and bamboo layers. Slope and bamboos are significant variables affecting microhabitat utilization by giant pandas in the two forest types. Significant difference was found in rations of elevations, total trees, total shrubs, total dead bamboos and basal diameter of biennial bamboos between primary and secondary forests, indicating selective logging had an effect on microhabitat selection by giant pandas in the study area. In addition, trace abundance, as indexed by droppings and dropping groups per km, decreased significantly in secondary forests. Selective logging can not only affect the inner structure of forests in giant panda habitats, but also their spatial distribution and microhabitat selection behaviors. The flexibility in microhabitat selection of giant pandas can help them to adapt to surrounding conditions. In the future, conservation attention should be paid to the effects of forest types on habitat selection of captive released giant pandas, and gentle areas in habitats when patrolling and monitoring.
KeywordsGiant panda Microhabitat selection Trace abundance Forest type Selective logging
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