Impacts of livestock grazing, topography and vegetation on distribution of wildlife in Wanglang National Nature Reserve, China

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Global Ecology and Conservation, 2019, 20
Issue Date:
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© 2019 The Authors Successful conservation requires that we identify factors affecting species co-occurrence in the wild and understanding the consequence for wildlife management. We investigated species diversity in Wanglang National Nature Reserve using camera traps. We conducted vegetation surveys and obtained topographic information at each camera trapping site. We determined the characteristic species of trees and wildlife at each site using PCA. Generalized Linear Models of the effect of landscape structure (including the terrain and vegetation) and co-occurrence of wildlife species on occurrence of characteristic species were compared. Model selection showed that the global model out-performed all other models. The effect of species co-occurrence explained the most variation in species occurrence, while terrain and dominant tree species also had explained a high proportion. The co-occurrence of wildlife is affected by the distribution of terrain-dependent vegetation and dominant tree species, especially in the case of arboreal animals, which implies a high degree of niche partitioning. In contrast, terrestrial animals are more affected by species co-occurrence. Obvious mutual exclusivity is shown between grazing livestock (e.g. the cattle) and medium-to-large mammals such as giant panda and tufted deer. This may be attributed to the complete niche differentiation between these species, and indicates the effects of anthropogenic activities on wildlife in the reserve. These results indicate that the maintenance of a complex landscape is helpful for maintaining diverse resources and niches for wildlife. Reducing or adequately managing grazing activity is urgent for protecting medium- and large-sized mammals in the reserve.
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