Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (12): 1321-1330.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2017135

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

China’s zoogeographical regionalization based on terrestrial vertebrates

Erhu Gao1,*(), Jiekun He2, Zhichen Wang1, Yang Xu2, Xiaoping Tang1, Haisheng Jiang2   

  1. 1 Academy of Forest Inventory and Planning, State Forestry Administration, Beijing 100714
    2 School of Life Sciences, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631
  • Received:2017-05-03 Accepted:2017-10-09 Online:2017-12-20 Published:2017-12-10
  • Contact: Gao Erhu


China’s previous zoogeographical regionalization designations were delineated according to expert knowledge and experience. However, these previous designations have limited application in wildlife conservation and management because of a lack of quantitative footing. Additionally, there are still significant differences in the ecological components of some of the basic units. In order to meet the needs of wildlife protection and management, especially the needs of the Second National Survey on Terrestrial Wildlife Resources in China, we carried out national wildlife survey unit zoning, based on Zhang Rongzu’s “Zoogeographical Regions of China”. In this study, hierarchical clustering was applied to a 5 km × 5 km grid of faunistic and environmental components, based on a comprehensive species distribution dataset, consisting of 262 amphibians, 358 reptiles, 814 birds, and 350 mammals. Our results delineated China into 2 realms, 7 regions, 19 sub-regions, 54 zoogeographical provinces, 239 eco-geographical units, and 310 survey units. Compared to Zhang’s scheme, the number of realms, regions, sub-regions, and zoogeographical provinces are the same and most of the boundaries are broadly consistent, however, some discrepancies also emerge. To meet the needs of wildlife conservation and management, two hierarchical levels of zoogeographical units were added, namely eco-geographical units and survey units.

Key words: wildlife, regionalization, clustering, zoogeography, eco-geographical unit, survey unit