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Environmental Influences on Bamboo Bashania fangiana Growth and Implications for Giant Panda Conservation

Donald G. Reid, Alan H. Taylor, Hu Jinchu and Qin Zisheng
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 28, No. 3 (Dec., 1991), pp. 855-868
DOI: 10.2307/2404212
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2404212
Page Count: 14
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Environmental Influences on Bamboo Bashania fangiana Growth and Implications for Giant Panda Conservation
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Abstract

(1) Associations between bamboo (Bashania fangiana) stand characteristics preferred by foraging pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and a suite of environmental factors potentially influencing bamboo growth were investigated in Wolong Natural Reserve, Sichuan, China. (2) B. fangiana culms were taller and thicker in the middle of the species' altitudinal range, suggesting stress at the extremes of the range. (3) Culms were taller and thicker under mixed evergreen and deciduous canopy than under homogeneous evergreen, deciduous or clearcut canopies, suggesting poorer growth with very low or very high insolation. (4) Culm density decreased as average annual forest canopy cover increased, and was higher in clearcuts than in any other forest type. (5) Clearcutting reduces panda habitat quality by favouring development of dense, short bamboo stands. Pandas prefer tall culms with wide basal diameter most of the year. (6) Mixed evergreen and deciduous forests support the bamboo growth most preferred by pandas, and these canopies can result from selective logging of conifers. Selective cutting is preferable to clearcutting for timber extraction when managing forests for both panda conservation and timber harvest.

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