Biodiversity Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (6): 630-637.doi: 10.17520/biods.2019122

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Impact of livestock terrain utilization patterns on wildlife: A case study of Wanglang National Nature Reserve

Chen Xing1, Zhao Lianjun2, Hu Xixi1, Luo Chunping2, Liang Chunping2, Jiang Shiwei2, Liang Lei1, Zheng Weichao3, *(), Guan Tianpei1, *()   

  1. 1 Ecological Security and Protection Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Mianyang Teachers’ College, Mianyang, Sichuan 621000
    2 Wanglang National Nature Reserve, Pingwu, Sichuan 622550
    3 Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve, Qingchuan, Sichuan 628100
  • Received:2019-04-09 Accepted:2019-06-14 Online:2019-06-20
  • Zheng Weichao,Guan Tianpei;

Terrain use is a fundamental factor of wildlife habitat and is closely related to other environmental factors. To assess the impact of cattle and horse on wildlife, we conducted field surveys in Wanglang National Nature Reserve and analyzed terrain preferences. We also deployed infrared cameras and historical biodiversity data to evaluate the risk of disturbance to key protected species based on altitudinal distribution of livestock. Results showed: (1) Both horse and cattle preferred low altitude habitats with low slopes, close to water with half to full sun aspects. However, there was also significant differences in terrain use between these two domestic animals. (2) The areas with the most frequent disturbance by livestock in the Wanglang Nature Reserve were Youyizhigou and Zhenggou in Zhugencha, and Yangdonggou in Dawodang. (3) Based on historical data, takin (Budorcas taxicolor tibetana) is likely the most influenced wildlife species, as the degree of overlap with livestock along altitudinal gradients is very high. Infrared camera data showed that areas frequented by livestock had fewer takin individuals recorded, indicating a negative relationship due to co-existence. Based on our findings, we suggest, (1) nature reserve should focus livestock in two core areas of Zhugencha (Youyizhigou, Zhenggou and Baishagou) and Dawodang (Yangdonggou and Waicepo) by monitoring the population and distribution of livestock in these areas; (2) they should prohibit the dispersal and distribution of livestock towards higher elevations; (3) the frequency with which local herdsman feed livestock salt needs to be controlled; (4) the strength of law enforcement towards illegal herds should be elevated.

Key words: elevation, habitat, grazing, Southwest of China, giant panda, national park

Fig. 1

The location of camera and linear transects in Wanglang National Nature Reserve. 1, Youyizhigou of Dawodang; 2, Youyizhigou of Zhugencha; 3, Tiebanfanggou; 4, Youerzhigou of Zhugencha; 5, The left of Dacaoping; 6, Yangdonggou of Dawodang; 7, Waicepo of Dawodang; 8, Baishagou; 9, The ridge between Baozigou and Jiefanggou; 10, Zhenggou of Zhugencha; 11, Qikeshugou; 12, Tianranmiaopugou; 13, Erdaoping; 14, Laotingchechangduipo of Zhugencha; 15, Nangou of Zhugencha; 16, The first supplementary survey trail; 17, The second supplementary survey trail."

Table 1

Terrain preference of cattle and horse"

地形因子 Terrain factor 牛 Cattle 马 Horse 可选择性 Availability
海拔 Elevation (m) 2,987.33 ± 7.04 3,092.97 ± 6.42 3,496.97 ± 3.44
坡度 Slope (°) 16.28 ± 0.36 16.28 ± 0.28 30.57 ± 0.09
地形起伏度 Terrain roughness index 28.08 ± 0.56 28.23 ± 0.49 47.51 ± 0.16
距水源距离 Distance to water (m) 187.12 ± 7.21 153.48 ± 5.52 465.2 ± 2.25
太阳辐射值 Solar radiation value (WH/m2) 985,160.94 ± 3,125.05 978,059.35 ± 2,252.7 947,815.03 ± 880.76
阴坡 Shady slope (%) 5.52 7.11 11.58
阳坡 Sunny slope (%) 18.14 12.24 10.31
半阴坡 Semi-shady slope (%) 26.71 36.62 39.67
半阳坡 Semi-sunny slope (%) 49.64 44.03 38.44

Table 2

Test of terrain utilization of livestock"

地形因子 Terrain factor 牛-马 Cattle-horse 牛-背景值 Cattle-background 马-背景值 Horse-background
海拔 Elevation 0.000 0.000 0.000
坡度 Slope 0.663 0.000 0.000
地形起伏度 Terrain roughness index 1.000 0.000 0.000
距水源距离 Distance to water 0.000 0.000 0.000
太阳辐射值 Solar radiation value 0.005 0.000 0.000

Fig. 2

Distribution patterns of free range livestock in different valleys of Wanglang National Nature Reserve along altitudinal gradients. 1, Baishagou; 2, Laotingchechangduipo of Zhugencha; 3, Zhenggou of Zhugencha; 4, Waicepo of Dawodang; 5, Yangdonggou of Dawodang; 6, Youyizhigou of Dawodang; 7, Erdaoping; 8, Youyizhigou of Zhugencha; 9, The ridge between Baozigou and Jiefanggou; 10, Qikeshugou."

Table 3

Test of difference on altitudinal distribution between livestock and sympatric wildlife"

物种 Species 牛 Cattle 马 Horse
大熊猫 Ailuropoda melanoleuca 0.001 0.000
中华斑羚 Naemorhedus griseus 0.091 0.000
中华鬣羚 Capricornis milneedwardsii 0.661 0.001
羚牛 Budorcas taxicolor tibetana 0.314 1.000

Fig. 3

Patterns of altitude distribution of wildlife and livestock"

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