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GIS Application in Evaluating the Potential Habitat of Giant Pandas in Guanyinshan Nature Reserve, Shaanxi Province
Guanyinshan Nature Reserve (GNR) is located in the middle of the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi Province, which connects two local populations of giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuc) which are Xinglongling population and Tianhuashan population. In this research, the suitability of potential habitat in GNR was analyzed and evaluated by using GIS technology in order to get a comprehensive grasp of the habitat quality spatially. Our results showed that (1) when not considering human activities, the "most suitable" potential habitat covers 6.03ha occupying 0.04% of the total area mainly because of very sparse distribution of Bashania fargesii bamboo. The unsuitable potential habitat covers 1097.10ha occupying 7.63% of the total area with very low bamboo coverage. The areas of â€œsuitableâ€ and â€œmarginally suitableâ€ habitat are 12767.94 ha and 506.70 ha, accounting for of 88.81 and 3.52% of the whole reserve respectively. (2) When considering the impact of residences and roads, the suitability degrades and the proportion of unsuitable area increases. In future, one way of protecting the habitat and the giant panda population is to reduce human activities as much as possible and the other is to implement proper scientific management and effective measures to promote regeneration and restoration of the habitat that has been impacted or destroyed.
Keywords: potential habitat, evaluation, GIS, giant pandas, suitability
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