Special Section on Remote Sensing of the Wenchuan Earthquake

Impact of China's May 12 earthquake on Giant Panda habitat in Wenchuan County

[+] Author Affiliations
Weihua Xu, Rencai Dong, Xuezhi Wang, Zhiyun Ouyang, Zhiqi Li, Yi Xiao, Jindong Zhang

State Key Laboratory of Regional and Urban Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shuangqing Road 18, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing 100085 China

J. Appl. Remote Sens. 3(1), 031655 (May 26, 2009). doi:10.1117/1.3153916
History: Received November 1, 2008; Revised April 8, 2009; Accepted April 30, 2009; May 26, 2009; Online May 26, 2009
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Abstract

The Minshan and Qionglai mountains, the major distribution range of the Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), was struck by the Wenchuan earthquake. In this study, we evaluated the impact of the earthquake and subsequent geo-disasters on the Giant Panda and its habitat using Wenchuan county (where the epicenter was located) as a case study. Habitat characteristics before and after the earthquake were analyzed based on TM images taken pre and post-earthquake and previous research in this region. Results showed that about 252.0 km2> of panda habitat was lost in Wenchuan County after the earthquake, which accounted for 13.9% of the total habitat in this county. Regions with high earthquake intensity, low elevation, steep slope, and near river had a higher proportion of habitat loss than in other regions. In addition to habitat loss, the earthquake and its resulting geo-disasters also caused habitat fragmentation. After the earthquake, the number of habitat patches increased by a factor of 2 and mean patch size was only 28.3% of pre-earthquake conditions. Habitat restoration and corridor reparation along Road 303 are necessary for facilitating panda's migration between isolated patches. It is necessary to take some measures including relocation of residents and earthquake compensation to decrease the impact of reconstruction on the Giant Panda and its habitat.

© 2009 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Weihua Xu ; Rencai Dong ; Xuezhi Wang ; Zhiyun Ouyang ; Zhiqi Li, et al.
"Impact of China's May 12 earthquake on Giant Panda habitat in Wenchuan County", J. Appl. Remote Sens. 3(1), 031655 (May 26, 2009). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3153916


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