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Table of Content
    Volume 24 Issue 5
    20 May 2016

    Typical vertebrates in China. From the left to the right, from the top to the bottom, animals in the cover are Vipera berus, Equus przewalskii, Buteo buteo, Ovis hodgsoni, Pantholops hodgsonii, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Camelus ferus, Andrias davidianus, Elephas maximus, Procapra gutturosa, Panthera pardus, Tragopan caboti, Shinisaurus crocodilurus, Macaca mulatta, Panthera tigris altaica, Grus japonensis, Ursus thibetanus, Acipenser sinensis, Thalasseus bernsteini, and Paguma larvata.

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    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  0-0. 
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    Orginal Article
    Assessing the surviving status of vertebrates in China
    Zhigang Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  495-499.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016097
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    Red List of China’s Vertebrates
    Zhigang Jiang, Jianping Jiang, Yuezhao Wang, E Zhang, Yanyun Zhang, Lili Li, Feng Xie, Bo Cai, Liang Cao, Guangmei Zheng, Lu Dong, Zhengwang Zhang, Ping Ding, Zhenhua Luo, Changqing Ding, Zhijun Ma, Songhua Tang, Wenxuan Cao, Chunwang Li, Huijian Hu, Yong Ma, Yi Wu, Yingxiang Wang, Kaiya Zhou, Shaoying Liu, Yueying Chen, Jiatang Li, Zuojian Feng, Yan Wang, Bin Wang, Cheng Li, Xuelin Song, Lei Cai, Chunxin Zang, Yan Zeng, Zhibin Meng, Hongxia Fang, Xiaoge Ping
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  500-951.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016076
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    Evaluating the status of China’s mammals and analyzing their causes of endangerment through the red list assessment
    Zhigang Jiang, Lili Li, Zhenhua Luo, Songhua Tang, Chunwang Li, Huijian Hu, Yong Ma, Yi Wu, Yingxiang Wang, Kaiya Zhou, Shaoying Liu, Zuojian Feng, Lei Cai, Chunxin Zang, Yan Zeng, Zhibin Meng, Xiaoge Ping, Hongxia Fang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  552-567.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015311
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    Based on current population estimates, habitat status, rates of population decline, and projected population trends, we assessed the status of all known 673 mammals in China using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (Version 3.1), Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria and Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels (Version 4.0). We evaluated 71 mammal species that were not evaluated by the IUCN Red List (2015) and 60 species that were not considered by the IUCN Red List (2015) to be distributed in China. We discovered that 178 species of mammals were threatened in China, accounting for 26.4% of all mammal species in the country, which was higher than the worldwide average percentage of threatened species (21.8%). Three species were identified as “Extinct in the Wild” while another three species were classified as “Regionally Extinct”. Roughly a quarter of endemic mammal species are threatened in China. The three orders with the highest ratios of threatened to unthreatened species are Primates, Carnivora and Cetartiodactyla. Most of the provinces in the country have rate of threatened species between 20-30%. Most mammals are distributed on the second ring of the geographic ladder of the country, though few mammal species live at high altitudes but more species of them are threatened. Over-exploitation by humans, habitat loss and human interference are the three leading threats to mammals in China. Since the implementation of the Wild Animal Protection Law of People’s Republic of China in 1989, the status of some mammals, including the giant panda and Tibetan antelope, have been improved. Nevertheless, considering the uniqueness and diversity of mammalian fauna, and the complexity of the topography in China, how to rescue threatened species in the country is still a difficult task in front of us.

    Assessment of red list of birds in China
    Yanyun Zhang, Zhengwang Zhang, Lu Dong, Ping Ding, Changqing Ding, Zhijun Ma, Guangmei Zheng
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  568-577.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015294
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    There are 1,372 bird species, including 77 endemic species in China. The over-exploitation of resources, habitat loss, fragmentation, and environmental pollution challenges the conservation of Chinese birds. In order to comprehensively evaluate the status of threatened birds in China, the Red List of Vertebrates (Bird) in China, supported by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China, was initiated. According to IUCN red list criteria, this evaluation was accomplished by 27 researchers following the steps: confirm the evaluated species, data collection, preliminary evaluation, preliminary check, interactive check and finalization. Our evaluation demonstrated that three species (white stork Ciconia ciconia, siberian spruce grouse Falcipennis falcipennis, and sarus crane Grus antigone) are characterized as Regionally Extinct (RE), 15 species among them are Critically Endangered (CR), 51 species are Endangered (EN), 80 species are Vulnerable (VU), 190 species are Near Threatened (NT), 876 species are characterized as of Least Concern (LC), and 157 species are Data Deficient (DD). Overall, 146 bird species (10.6% of the birds of China) were threatened (including CR, EN, and VU), and of these, 29 endemic species (37.7%) were listed as threatened. The proportion of threatened birds from different orders and regions were calculated, and the major threat factors to the birds of China were analyzed. Top two families with the highest proportion of threatened bird species are Pelecanidae and Bucerotidae, 100% species of these families were listed as threatened. Terrestores and raptors were more threatened birds across different ecological groups, and 25.2% and 23.2% species listed as threatened birds respectively. There is great difference on the number and proportion of threatened species in different administrative regions. Thus, this work is important to the conservation of the birds of China.

    Exploring the status and causes of China’s threatened reptiles through the red list assessment
    Bo Cai, Jiatang Li, Yueying Chen, Yuezhao Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  578-587.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015354
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    This study investigated the living status of reptile species in China. Based on surveys and revised IUCN criterion (Version 3.1), we evaluated the endangerment status and completed China’s Biodiversity Red List, Volume of Vertebrates. The reptiles assessed included 3 orders, 32 families, 133 genera and 461 species, in which Crocodylia contains 3 families, 3 genera and 3 species, Testudines contains 6 families, 18 genera and 34 species, Lacertilia in Squamata contains 10 families, 41 genera and 188 species, and Serpentes in Squamata contains 13 families, 71 genera and 236 species. The study identified 2 species as Regionally Extinction (RE), 34 species as Critically Endangered (CR), 37 species as Endangered (EN), 66 species as Vulnerable (VU), 78 species as Near Threatened (NT), 175 species were identified as of Least Concern (LC) and 69 species as Data Deficient (DD). The threatened species (including CR, EN and VU) in reptile taxa are listed as follows: Testudines contained 31 species, Lacertilia in Squamata contained 38 species, Serpentes in Squamata contained 67 species, and Crocodylia contained 1 species. In China, threatened reptiles totaled 137 species, which accounted for 29.72% of reptiles in China (461 species), which is higher than that of the global assessment of the 2014 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (13.61%). Of the 137 threatened species, Crocodylia and Testudines were the two most endangered groups (covering 100% and 91.18%, respectively), followed by Serpentes in Squamata with 28.39%, and Lacertilia in Squamata (20.21%) was the least endangered. There were 39 species of endemic reptiles in China identified as endangered, which were 27.27% and 28.47% of the total number of reptiles endemic to China (143) and endangered species (137), respectively. The most endangered species were distributed in the southwestern and southern regions of China. The main threats to species survival: habitat destruction and fragmentation, overuse and the heavy pollution, and climate change. Given the uniqueness and diversity of Chinese reptile fauna, the complexity of topography and geomorphology, and the imbalance of the development of social economy, we suggest that the whole society should act to protect endangered reptiles, especially endemic and critically endangered species, which is one of the most important tasks of biodiversity conservation in China.

    Assessing the threat status of amphibians in China
    Jianping Jiang, Feng Xie, Chunxin Zang, Lei Cai, Cheng Li, Bin Wang, Jiatang Li, Jie Wang, Junhua Hu, Yan Wang, Jiongyu Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  588-597.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015348
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    In order to clarify the threat status of Chinese amphibians and the conditions threatening these species, we compiled a red list of amphibians in China based on the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (Version 3.1), and Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels (Version 4.0). This red list, which includes details on population and habitat status, rates of population decline, and projected population trends, will facilitate development of protective management agreements for Chinese administrative departments, the Chinese public, and international organizations. We evaluated 408 amphibian species and discovered that 43.1% of the evaluated species, i.e., 176 species, were threatened, which exceeds the net percentage of threatened amphibian species throughout the entire world. One species was classified as “Extinct” and another species was classified as “Regionally Extinct”. There are 272 amphibian species endemic to China, and 48.9% of them were threatened. The tailed amphibian order (Urodela) possessed the highest ratios of threatened species, followed by the tailless amphibian order (Anura). The families with the highest percentages of threatened species were Cryptobranchidae (100% threatened), Hynobiidae (86.7% threatened), and Dicroglossidae (78.1% threatened). In eleven provinces, more than 30% of the local amphibian species were classified as threatened species, with the provinces Sichuan (40.8%), Guangxi (39.2%), and Yunnan (37.0%) having the highest percentage of threatened amphibians. Most of China’s amphibians are distributed in southwestern and southern China and below 2,000 m altitude. Habitat degeneration and loss, human capture, and pollution were the three leading threats to amphibians in China. In order to restore endangered amphibian populations and conserve amphibian diversity in China, more population surveys and monitoring projects as well as scientific research on Chinese amphibians are necessary.

    Evaluating the status of China’s continental fish and analyzing their causes of endangerment through the red list assessment
    Liang Cao, E Zhang, Chunxin Zang, Wenxuan Cao
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  598-609.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015331
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    Continental fishes (totaling 1,443 species) in China were assessed for their status based on available data utilizing the IUCN Redlist Categories and Criteria. Among these, 3 species were listed as Extinct, 1 as Regionally Extinct, 65 as Critically Endangered, 101 as Endangered, 129 as Vulnerable, 101 as Near Threatened, 454 as of Least Concern, and 589 were Data Deficient. Both the number of species assessed here and the number of species classified as threatened, were greater than those already identified by the IUCN. There were 295 threatened species, which accounted for 20.44% of the total number of currently identified continental fish in China. This ratio was lower than the known worldwide average. Three extinct species identified were Anabarilius macrolepis, Cyprinus yilongensis and Triplophysa cakaensis, and Stenodus nelma was found to be regionally extinct in China. Among all families assessed, Cyprinidae had the highest number of threatened species. Within this family, Schizothroracinae and Cyprininae were the two most threatened subfamilies. The upper Yangtze River and the upper Pearl River were two areas with the highest number of threatened species. Major threats to continental fish in China can be classified into four categories: dam construction, habitat degradation, over-fishing, and introducing of alien species. A total of 589 species (40.82% of continental fishes in China) were listed as Data Deficient. This large number indicated insufficient information regarding continental fishes in China, therefore warranting the need for basic data collection on continental fishes through field surveys.

    Preparation of the China Biodiversity Red List and its significance for biodiversity conservation within China
    Chunxin Zang, Lei Cai, Jiaqi Li, Xiaopu Wu, Xiaoguang Li, Junsheng Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (5):  610-614.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015272
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    China started to use the IUCN Red List Criteria of Threatened Species to assess endangered species in the early 1980s. Although the Species Red List of China has been widely cited both at home and abroad, there are still some imperfections in the red list. In 2008, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Academy of Science started the project of the China Biodiversity Red List in order to further the understanding of threats to biodiversity in China and to improve the scientific basis of biodiversity conservation. The China Biodiversity Red List: Higher Plants and the Biodiversity Red List of China: Vertebrates were published in September 2013 and May 2015, respectively. Compiling of the Biodiversity Red List of China was a large systematic project, over 500 experts from relevant fields participated the exhaustive assessment of the threat to 34,450 higher plant species and 4,357 vertebrate species (not including marine fishes) in China. This assessment was the largest scale so far which provided the most complete information set for the widest scope of organisms in China. For instance, it summed up the number of known vertebrate and higher plant species in China and confirmed worldwide species richness rankings of the country; it improved the IUCN Red List assessment system as well; it assessed and analyzed the degree of threats to and the differences in distribution of known higher plants and vertebrates in China; and it assessed and analyzed the conditions threatening higher plants and vertebrates. The most prevalent factors threatening higher plants and vertebrates were habitat loss and degradation caused by human activities. The Biodiversity Red List of China will have profoundly influences on biodiversity protection and management in the country.


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