Biodiversity Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (5): 583-590.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015115

Special Issue: China Nature Watch

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

A rapid approach for assessing the conservation effectiveness of the most concerned endangered species in China

Lei Gu1, 2, *(), Cheng Wen1, 2, Mei Luo1, Hao Wang1, 2, Zhi Lü1, 2   

  1. 1 Center for Nature and Society, School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
    2 Shanshui Conservation Center, Beijing 100871
  • Received:2015-05-06 Accepted:2015-09-20 Online:2015-10-12
  • Gu Lei

By establishing a set of grading standards, conservation effectiveness was assessed rapidly for 174 of the most concerned endangered species in China, including all the Category I National Protected plant and animal species, and avian species defined as CR and EN by the IUCN Red List. Based on the data from published research articles, satellite remote sensing, field surveys and information collected by citizen scientists, the assessment was obtained by grading population dynamics, information perfections, potential habitat changes and protected area coverage of simulated distributions. Results show that the overall conservation status deteriorated during 2000-2013. The average grades of all four indexes were negative. The conservation status of 26 species improved, while 32 species maintained their status and 116 species worsened. We also investigated the trends of 9,338 published research articles in reference to 746 threatened species during 2000-2013. The numbers of studied species and research articles increased every year, but less than 1/3 of the total threatened species had been studied in any single year. Research concentrated on the star species and the species with economic value, for example, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) contributed to 11.33% of all research articles. On the other hand, scientific research and basic information were lacking in most other threatened species.

Key words: threatened species, conservation effectiveness, grading standard, literature review

Table 1

Grading standards of the conservation effectiveness"

Grading standard
1 0 -1
Population dynamics
Increasing stably
No significant change
数量减少, 或极少而无恢复迹象
Significantly decreasing,or extremely small population without recovery
Potential habitat change
Improving in >1% pixels
1%以内像元变化, 或不明
Changing in ±1% pixels, or unclear
Worsening in >1% pixels
Information perfection
Literatures in behavior, breeding system or genetic diversity published
Literatures in population and habitat published
Taxonomy literatures only
Protected area coverage of simulated distribution
5-15%, 或不明
5-15%, or unclear

Table 2

Species with highest and lowest grades"

评分最低的物种 Species with lowest grades 评分最高的物种 Species with highest grades
Chinese name
Latin name
Chinese name
Latin name
白鱀豚 Lipotes vexillifer -4 西藏野驴 Equus kiang 4
白鲟 Psephurus gladius -4 金雕 Aquila chrysaetos 3
野马 Equus przewalskii -4 珙桐 Davidia involucrata 3
Panthera pardus -4 黑鹳 Ciconia nigra 2
巧家五针松 Pinus squamata -4 东北红豆杉 Taxus cuspidata 2
四川苏铁 Cycas szechuanensis -4 台湾猴 Macaca cyclopis 2
中华水韭 Isoetes sinensis -4 台湾鬣羚 Capricornis crispus 2
野牛 Bos gaurus -4 伯乐树 Bretschneidera sinensis 2
云豹 Neofelis nebulosa -3 独叶草 Kingdonia uniflora 2
Pelochelys bibroni -3 斑尾榛鸡 Tetrastes sewerzowi 2
华盖木 Manglietiastrum sinicum -3 梅花鹿 Cervus nippon 2
灰腹角雉 Tragopan blythii -3 藏羚 Pantholops hodgsonii 2
云南蓝果树 Nyssa yunnanensis -3 大熊猫 Ailuropoda melanoleuca 2
儒艮 Dugong dugon -3 苏铁 Cycas revoluta 2

Fig. 1

Annual dynamics of research articles and studied species during 2000-2013"

Fig. 2

Correlation between annual numbers of studied species and articles during 2000-2013."

Fig. 3

Correlation between annual article numbers and annual national scientific investments during 2000-2013"

Fig. 4

Distribution of research articles among species"

Table 3

Comparison of the threatened species numbers in the Chinese National Protected Animal and Plant Species Checklists and the IUCN Red List"

National Protected Animal and Plant Species Checklists
IUCN Red List
Species (taxa)
I 148 CR 118 81
II 381 EN 281 181
VU 388
EW 1
EX 4
Ca. 529
792 262
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