Biodiv Sci ›› 2009, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (3): 211-225.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2009.08207

• Editorial •     Next Articles

Spatiotemporal pattern and major causes of the Amur tiger population dynamics

Yu Tian1, Jianguo Wu1,2, Xiaojun Kou1, Zhongwen Li1, Tianming Wang1, Pu Mou1, Jianping Ge1,*()   

  1. 1 Center for Landscape Ecology and Sustainability Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2 School of Life Sciences & Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-4501, USA
  • Received:2008-08-20 Accepted:2009-03-25 Online:2009-05-20 Published:2009-05-20
  • Contact: Jianping Ge


Based on a comprehensive literature review, we analyzed the spatiotemporal pattern of the Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) population dynamics during the past century, and proposed a set of strategies and measures for conserving this endangered species from the perspectives of landscape ecology and sustainability science. The Amur tiger is a keystone species in the region of Russia Far East, Eastern Mongolia, Northeastern China, and North Korea, and its population declined dramatically during the past century, from the historical record of 3,000 to the current low level of about 500 because of different kinds of anthropogenic disturbances. The extant tiger population is distributed mainly in the Russia Far East region, including one large habitat area along the Sikhote Mountain and two smaller habitat patches near the Russia-China border. A small number of tiger individuals are also found in several small isolated habitat patches in northeastern China. The primary causes for the decline of the tiger population were poaching, habitat loss, and habitat fragmentation. The scarcity of prey and wars were also responsible for the decrease in the tiger population. To better conserve this endangered species, we propose the following strategies and measures: to establish a long-term monitoring platform; to strictly prohibit tiger poaching and restrict forest logging, hunting, and building roads and other artificial structures within the tiger distribution areas; and to build animal movement corridors among reserves and across the China-Russia border. To achieve these goals, large-scale land use planning and habitat pattern optimization are needed, and conservation goals must be integrated with the overall goal of sustainable development in the region that simultaneously considers environmental, economic, and social factors based on the principles of landscape ecology and sustainability science.

Key words: the Amur tiger, historical dynamics and spatial pattern, habitat loss and fragmentation, conservation strategies and measures, landscape ecology and sustainability science