Biodiversity Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (9): 951-961.doi: 10.17520/biods.2018012

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Distribution and habitat suitability assessment of the gaur Bos gaurus in China

Chenchen Ding1, 2#, Yiming Hu1, 2#, Chunwang Li1, 2, Zhigang Jiang1, 2, *()   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100101
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2018-01-11 Accepted:2018-05-26 Online:2019-01-05
  • Jiang Zhigang E-mail:jiangzg@ioz.ac.cn
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Gaur (Bos gaurus) are found in the Yunnan Province and Zangnan in southern Tibet in China. We conducted two field surveys in Xishuangbanna, Pu’er and Mt. Gaoligongshan in Yunnan Province, from February to March and November to December in 2016. We collected 47 valid occurrence locations of gaur by combining survey data and records from literature. Our analysis suggests that there are 180-210 gaurs in the Yunnan Province which face a serious survival crisis. No gaur signs were found in Mt. Gaoligongshan. Next, we used MaxEnt models to predict the potentially suitable habitats for gaur. We grouped 14 habitat predictor variables into five classes—terrain, land cover type, human footprint index, the distance to water and road, as well as climatic factors, and determined the contribution of each habitat factor to habitat suitability for gaur. The accuracy of our prediction models was accessed by the area under the curve (AUC) values for a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. The validation showed that the results had high average AUC value of 0.994. The simulated potential habitat was divided into four classes—the most suitable habitat, moderately suitable habitat, low suitability habitat, and unsuitable habitat. The most suitable habitats for gaur are mainly located in southern Yunnan and Zangnan and spanned 4,987 km² and 13,995 km² respectively. Habitats with moderate suitability (total area = 32,778 km²) were located in the marginal areas of the most suitable habitats and in the Mt. Gongligongshan area. The most suitable habitats were mixed with habitat patches of moderate and low suitability for gaur in the southern parts of Xishuangbanna. In contrast, the central and northern parts of the study area were classified entirely as low suitable habitats and unsuitable habitats. The results of a Jackknife test indicated that temperature seasonality and isothermality had the strongest influence on habitat suitability for gaur, whereas terrain factor and precipitation had little effect. Temperature difference, land cover type and human footprint index were the main variables that explained patterns of gaur distribution. The results of land cover classification (using remote sensing) showed that rubber plantations have fragmented the suitable habitat and reduced landscape connectivity for gaur. We recommend that the relevant management authorities should protect natural forests, control the development of rubber plantations and other agricultural development in habitats suitable for gaur, and improve landscape connectivity to restore gaur populations in the landscape.

Key words: Yunnan, Zangnan, Bos gaurus, ecological niche model, rubber plantations, habitat suitability assessment

Fig. 1

Occurrence points of gaur in China"

Table 1

Environmental variables used to model the potential distribution range of the gaur"

编码 Code 描述 Description 来源 Source
BIO1 年均温 Annual mean temperature WorldClim database Version 1.4
BIO3 等温线 Isothermality WorldClim database Version 1.4
BIO4 季节温度变化 Temperature seasonality WorldClim database Version 1.4
BIO7 气温年较差 Temperature annual range WorldClim database Version 1.4
BIO9 最旱季均温 Mean temperature of driest quarter WorldClim database Version 1.4
BIO12 年均降水量 Annual precipitation WorldClim database Version 1.4
BIO15 降水季节性 Precipitation seasonality WorldClim database Version 1.4
BIO19 最冷季均温 Precipitation of coldest quarter WorldClim database Version 1.4
LCT 土地覆被类型 Land cover type Global Land Cover Facility
HFI 人类足迹指数 Human footprint influence Last of the Wild Data Version 2
ALT 海拔 Altitude Chinese Natural Resources Database
Slop 坡度 Slope Chinese Natural Resources Database
Dis_road 距主要道路距离 Distance to major roads National Catalogue Service for Geographic Information
Dis_water 距水源地距离 Distance to water source National Catalogue Service for Geographic Information

Fig.2

Jackknife evaluation of environmental variables in gaur distribution"

Fig. 3

Potential suitable habitats of gaur in China"

Fig. 4

Land use in Xishuangbanna in 2016"

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