Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (9): 1049-1058.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020038

Special Issue: 青藏高原生物多样性与生态安全

• Special Feature: Wildlife Camera-trapping Networks in China • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Construction progress of the Camera-trapping Network for the Mountains of Southwest China

Sheng Li1,*(), William J. McShea2, Dajun Wang1, Xiaoli Shen3, Hongliang Bu1, Tianpei Guan4, Fang Wang5, Xiaodong Gu6, Xiaofeng Zhang7, Haohong Liao8   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2 Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA
    3 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    4 Ecological Security and Protection Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Mianyang Teachers’ College, Mianyang, Sichuan 621000, China
    5 School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China
    6 Forestry and Grassland Administration of Sichuan Province, Chengdu 610081, China
    7 Forestry Administration of Shaanxi Province, Xi’an 710082, China
    8 The Nature Conservancy—China Program, Lijiang, Yunnan 674100, China
  • Received:2020-02-09 Accepted:2020-07-13 Online:2020-09-20 Published:2020-07-20
  • Contact: Sheng Li


The Mountains of Southwest China is a global biodiversity hotspot. The Camera-trapping Network for the Mountains of Southwest China (SW China Network) has been established as one of the regional camera-trapping networks to measure biodiversity in China. This network was first initiated by Peking University in 2002, and now includes numerous partners from academic institutions, universities, conservation organizations, government agencies, and protected area administrations. The SW China Network spans across seven mountain ranges (i.e., Qinling, Minshan, Qionglai, Xiangling, Liangshan, Shaluli and Yunling Mountains) along the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Forty-one protected areas (e.g., nature reserves, community-managed protected areas, and timberlands, etc.) have joined the network, with each following a standardized survey protocol. Each protected area maintains its own camera-trapping database that is constructed using a common metadata structure. By December 2019, the SW China Network has generated approximately 3,025,900 camera-trapping images (excluding the empty images) at 5,738 survey stations, over 1,207,000 camera-days. An additional ~1,100,000 images are yet to be processed. We have recorded 63 wild mammal species (belonging to 7 orders and 21 families) and 182 wild bird species (belonging to 10 orders and 35 families), among which 18 are listed as Class-I, and 39 as Class-II National Key Protected Species. The network has four focal areas in the future: (1) construct an online data platform based on a common metadata structure, (2) provide training for reserve staff on camera data analysis to build local capacity for data management and analysis, (3) provide supports for regional biodiversity conservation and protected area management, and (4) conduct wildlife ecology research on the interspecific relationship, community assembly mechanisms, and ecological roles of large carnivores.

Key words: Mountains of Southwest China, Great Hengduan Mountains, biodiversity monitoring, camera- trapping, protected area network, biodiversity infrastructure