Research Papers

Impact of Wenchuan earthquake on the giant panda habitat in Wolong National Nature Reserve, China

[+] Author Affiliations
Cheng Kou

Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Nanjing University, No. 163 Xianlin Avenue, Nanjing 210023, China

Key Laboratory for Satellite Mapping Technology and Applications of State Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation of China, Nanjing University, No. 163 Xianlin Avenue, Nanjing 210023, China

Yu-Yue Xu, Chang-Qing Ke

Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Nanjing University, No. 163 Xianlin Avenue, Nanjing 210023, China

Key Laboratory for Satellite Mapping Technology and Applications of State Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation of China, Nanjing University, No. 163 Xianlin Avenue, Nanjing 210023, China

Yu-Ting He

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Department of Meteorology, Pennsylvania 16802-5013, United States

J. Appl. Remote Sens. 8(1), 083507 (Dec 16, 2014). doi:10.1117/1.JRS.8.083507
History: Received July 18, 2014; Accepted November 11, 2014
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Abstract.  Monitoring the change of the giant panda habitat is essential to protect this endangered species. The Wolong National Nature Reserve (WNNR) of China, the giant panda habitat, was struck by the Wenchuan earthquake (M=8.0) on May 12, 2008, and was seriously damaged. Landsat images covering the WNNR on four dates, one before and three after the earthquake, are classified using support vector machines to generate land cover maps (with an overall accuracy of 90% and Kappa coefficients of 0.86). The habitat suitability index and weighted usable area (WUA) are calculated to evaluate the changes of the habitat suitability of the WNNR. The results indicate that the forest area dropped by 10% due to the earthquake. The forest located in the east of Wolong town, the home of numerous giant pandas, suffered the most. The WUA decreased significantly after the earthquake, and was showing improvement in 2013, although still not fully recovered to the level of priori earthquake. The habitat between 1200 and 1300 m above sea level (m a.s.l.) was particularly vulnerable and was slowly recovering. Further effective management is necessary to restore and protect the giant panda habitat.

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Citation

Cheng Kou ; Yu-Yue Xu ; Chang-Qing Ke and Yu-Ting He
"Impact of Wenchuan earthquake on the giant panda habitat in Wolong National Nature Reserve, China", J. Appl. Remote Sens. 8(1), 083507 (Dec 16, 2014). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JRS.8.083507


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