Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (5): 504-512.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016349

• Special Feature: Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The effectiveness of Shennongjia National Nature Reserve in conserving forests and habitat of Sichuan snub-nosed monkey

Cuiling Wang1,2, Zhenhua Zang1, Yue Qiu1,2, Shuyu Deng1,2, Zhaoyang Feng3, Zongqiang Xie1, Wenting Xu1, Lei Liu4, Quansheng Chen1, Guozhen Shen1,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Regional Eco-process and Function Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
    4 Tianjin TEDA Institute of Landscape Planning Design, Tianjin 300457
  • Received:2016-12-11 Accepted:2017-02-20 Online:2017-05-20 Published:2017-06-06
  • Contact: Shen Guozhen


Nature reserves are a cornerstone of global conservation. Although the network of global protected areas has expanded substantially over the last few decades, many protected areas are not effective and the use of protected areas as a conservation tool has been criticized due to its inefficiency. Understanding which institutional conditions of protected areas are effective is therefore a key research priority. Shennongjia National Nature Reserve offers a fascinating case to investigate the effectiveness of protected areas in China. This reserve is exceptionally important for conservation as it harbors the remaining subtropical mixed broadleaved evergreen and deciduous forests in the northern hemisphere, numerous endemic and endangered species, and viable populations of the snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana hubeiensis). From an institutional perspective, Shennongjia Nature Reserve experienced a heavily exploited deforestation period and forest cover rebounded since the establishment of the reserve and the implementation of the Natural Forest Conservation Program (NFCP) and the Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP). We assessed the effectiveness of the Shennongjia Nature Reserve in conserving forests and habitat of the snub-nosed monkey based on landuse datasets of 1980, 1990, 2010 and 2015, respectively; combining DEM, distribution and behavioral characteristics of the snub-nosed monkey, and constructing the criterion of the survival function of the snub-nosed monkey and metapopulation capacity. Results showed that the forest area increased by 34.27% and forest coverage increased 16.42%, of which 82.77% of the newly gained forest recovered from shrubs and sparse forests since the establishment of the reserve. The area of the most suitable habitat for the snub-nosed monkey increased 17.70%, and metapopulation capacity of the habitat increased 515.17%. Furthermore, since the implementation of NFCP and SLCP, the forest area and forest coverage increased 23.24% and 12.77%, respectively, the most suitable habitat area for the snub-nosed monkey increased 14.29%, and the metapopulation capacity increased 367.20%. Our results indicate that the Shennongjia Nature Reserve is efficient for forest conservation and snub-nosed monkey habitat provision.

Key words: nature reserve, conservation effectiveness, Shennongjia, snub-nosed monkey habitat, metapopulation capacity