Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (7): 21535.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021535

Special Issue: 青藏高原生物多样性与生态安全

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Multi-scale habitat selection of Chinese monal (Lophophorus lhuysii) in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan

Hualin Yang1,2, Yuehong Cheng3, Tianxiang Zhou1,2, Xi Feng3, Qiang Hu3, Guiquan Zhang4, Jian Yang4, Jindong Zhang1,2, Bin Wang1,5,*(), Caiquan Zhou1,5,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Southwest China Wildlife Resources Conservation (Ministry of Education), China West Normal University, Nanchong, Sichuan 637009
    2. College of Life Sciences, China West Normal University, Nanchong, Sichuan 637009
    3. Wolong National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau, Wenchuan, Sichuan 623006
    4. Key Laboratory of State Forestry and Grassland Administration on Conservation Biology of Rare Animals in the Giant Panda National Park (China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda), Dujiangyan, Sichuan 611830
    5. Institute of Ecology, China West Normal University, Nanchong, Sichuan 637009
  • Received:2021-12-22 Accepted:2022-04-19 Online:2022-07-20 Published:2022-05-05
  • Contact: Bin Wang,Caiquan Zhou
  • About author:First author contact:

    # Co-first authors


Aims: The habitat selection of animals is a scale-dependent ecological process, affected by environmental factors across spatial scales. Studying key factors which influence habitat selection across both spatial and temporal scales is tantamount to a comprehensive understanding of species’ resource requirements and effective habitat protection. Chinese monal (Lophophorus lhuysii), an alpine-obligate Galliformes species native to China, has received a first-class National Protected Wildlife status with a high priority for global conservation. To our knowledge, no study to date has examined habitat selection of Chinese monal across spatial and temporal scales. In this paper, we detail how Chinese monal habitat selection patterns may reveal habitat in critical need for protection to facilitate its persistence and the conservation of biodiversity at scale.
Methods: During October 2019 to October 2020, we constructed 15 transect localities and established a network of infrared camera monitoring stations in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan. In total, we sampled 303 quadrats, including both microhabitat used by Chinese monal and systematic controls and collected landscape-scale habitat usage data from 176 wildlife cameras. To examine spatial patterns in habitat selection of Chinese monal, we used principal component analysis (PCA) and logistic regression models to analyze the data at the microhabitat and landscape scales, respectively. Furthermore, our analyses separate data from breeding (March-August) and non-breeding (September-February) periods, which allowed us to examine interactions in habitat utilization at both spatial and temporal scales.
Results: At the landscape scale, the Chinese monal showed similar habitat selection patterns during breeding and non-breeding periods, with significant preferences for habitats (1) at higher elevation (3,700‒4,300 m), (2) intermediate slopes (27°‒33°), (3) proximity to exposed slope-faces, and (4) a higher proportion of meadows and tundras (complimented by a lower proportion of forests and bushes). At the microhabitat scale, the Chinese monal displayed significant preferences for habitats with higher rock coverage during breeding period. However, during non-breeding period, habitats with higher herbage coverage and lower shrub and litter coverage were significantly preferred.
Conclusions: Our research indicates that Chinese monal show habitat specificity at both landscape and microhabitat scales, as well as seasonal variation in microhabitat selection reflecting changes in resource demands at different life stages. These findings enrich our understanding of the life history, biology, and ecology of Chinese monal. Given the endangered status of this species, we believe our research can inform more effective habitat and population management in the Wolong National Nature Reserve and beyond.

Key words: Chinese monal, habitat selection, spatial scale, seasonal variation, protection