Biodiversity Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (11): 1180-1189.doi: 10.17520/biods.2018167

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Suitable habitat prediction and overlap analysis of two sympatric species, giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) in Liangshan Mountains

Meixiang He1, Lixin Chen1, Gai Luo1, Xiaodong Gu2, Ge Wang3, Jianghong Ran1, *()   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Bio-Resource and Eco-Environment of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065
    2 Sichuan Station of Wild Life Survey and Management, Chengdu 610081
    3 Shifang Monitoring Station of Jiuding Mountain Provincial Nature Reserve of Sichuan, Shifang, Sichuan 618400
  • Received:2018-06-13 Accepted:2018-09-03 Online:2019-01-08
  • Ran Jianghong
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Understanding spatial distribution and habitat overlap of sympatric species is essential to developing integrated policies for conserving species and regional biodiversity. This study combined data from the 4th National Survey of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and long-term field survey. We used the Maximum entropy model (MaxEnt) to predict the distributions of two sympatric bears, the giant panda and Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) in Liangshan Mountains. Based on spatial distribution of two species, we measured habitat fragmentation and spatial overlap of habitat use, and assessed environmental requirements of both species. Our results indicated that: (1) both species had similar distributions of suitable habitats, both were mainly distributed on the ridges of Liangshan Mountains. The suitable habitat area of giant panda and black bear were 1,383.84 km2 and 2,411.49 km2, respectively. (2) The habitats of both species were fragmented and separated into many patches. However, habitat connectivity for the black bear was better than for giant panda. (3) Niche overlap indices, calculated by ENMTools, showed that two species have high overlap in their ecological niche (D = 0.654 and I = 0.901). The overlapping habitat comprised 958.29 km2 of the study area, which contained 69.25% of giant panda habitat and 39.74% of black bear habitat. (4) We used permutation techniques to estimate the importance of environmental variables in the MaxEnt model. Distance to residents and altitude were the most influential predictors for both species. Vegetation types and mean temperature of coldest quarter were the third and fourth important predictor for giant panda, while annual maximum enhanced vegetation index (EVI) and distance to roads was important for the black bear. To protect these two species more effectively, a series of measures have to be adopted, such as strengthening vegetation restoration, controlling disturbance, and enhancing connectivity between habitat patches. We recommend that a systematic, multi-species conservation plan should be developed.

Key words: giant panda, Asiatic black bear, MaxEnt, conservation, sympatry, Liangshan Mountains

Fig. 1

The occurrence points of Ailuropoda melanoleuca and Ursus thibetanus"

Fig. 2

Suitable habitat distribution of Ailuropoda melanoleuca and Ursus thibetanus in Liangshan Mountains"

Table 1

Landscape pattern indices of suitable habitat for Ailuropoda melanoleuca and Ursus thibetanus"

Landscape pattern index
Ailuropoda melanoleuca
斑块数目 Number of patches (NP) 5,340 5,983
斑块密度 Patch density (PD, ind./km2) 0.340 0.381
平均斑块面积 Mean patch size (MPS, km2) 0.26 0.40
Largest patch size (LPS, km2)
339.535 1,115.759
最大斑块指数 Largest patch index (LPI, %) 2.160 7.097
Patch cohesion index (COHESION)
99.506 99.822
分割指数 Segmentation index (DIVISION) 0.999 0.994
分离度指数 Separation index (SPLIT) 1,552.672 166.004

Table 2

The overlap habitat area of Ailuropoda melanoleuca and Ursus thibetanus in Liangshan Mountains"

Suitable habitat area
of giant panda (km2)
Suitable habitat area of black bear (km2)
重叠的栖息地 Overlap habitat
面积 Area (km2) 占大熊猫适宜生境比例
Percent of giant panda suitable habitat area (%)
Percent of black bear suitable habitat area (%)
峨边县 Ebian County 459.81 846.91 369.38 80.33 43.62
金口河区 Jinkouhe District 12.73 66.68 11.18 87.83 16.77
甘洛县 Ganluo County 159.94 254.95 105.10 65.71 41.22
马边县 Mabian County 155.45 492.47 129.16 83.09 26.23
沐川县 Muchuan County 0 15.64 0 - 0
屏山县 Pingshan County 0 32.50 0 - 0
美姑县 Meigu County 290.02 239.89 175.86 60.64 73.31
雷波县 Leibo County 214.56 427.38 148.41 69.17 34.73
越西县 Yuexi County 91.33 35.07 19.20 21.02 54.74
总计 Total 1,383.84 2,411.49 958.29 69.25 39.74

Fig. 3

Suitable habitat overlap of Ailuropoda melanoleuca and Ursus thibetanus in Liangshan Mountains"

Table 3

The permutation importance of environmental variables for species distribution models (%)"

环境因子 Variables 大熊猫
Ailuropoda melanoleuca
环境因子 Variables 大熊猫
Ailuropoda melanoleuca
距居民点距离 Distance to residents 31.8 59.7 坡度 Slope 4.2 1.7
距道路距离 Distance to roads 4.9 6.4 坡向 Aspect 1.5 2.3
植被类型 Vegetation types 10.9 2.5 坡位 Position on slope 1.1 2.8
年最大EVI指数 Annual maximum EVI 1.9 6.9 距河流距离 Distance to rivers 2.8 1.6
年平均EVI指数 Annual average EVI 1.7 1.4 最干季降水量
Percipitation of driest quarter (Bio17)
4.8 3.7
海拔 Altitude 26.4 9.6 最冷季均温
Mean temperature of coldest quarter (Bio11)
8 1.5

Table 4

The suitable ranges of dominant environmental variables affecting the potential distribution of species"

环境因子 Environmental variables 适宜范围 Suitable ranges
大熊猫 Ailuropoda melanoleuca 黑熊 Ursus thibetanus
距居民点距离 Distance to residents (km) 4-8 > 3
距道路距离 Distance to roads (km) 4-9 > 3
海拔 Altitude (m) 2,500-3,600 2,000-3,250
Mean temperature of coldest quarter (℃, Bio11)
-4至1 -3至3
年最大EVI Annual maximum EVI 0.46-0.55 0.56-0.65
植被类型 Vegetation types 物种在针叶林中分布概率最大, 其次是阔叶林, 在其他植被类型中的分布概率较小
The most important vegetation types for this species is coniferous forest, followed by broadleaf forest. The distribution probability in other vegetation types is low.
物种在针叶林中分布概率最大, 其次是阔叶林, 在其他植被类型中的分布概率较小
The most important vegetation types for this species is coniferous forest, followed by broadleaf forest. The distribution probability in other vegetation types is low.
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