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Influence of land use changes on landscape connectivity for North China leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis)
  • Liang Guofu,
  • Jingzhen Liu
Liang Guofu
Henan University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jingzhen Liu
Henan University
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Aim: North China leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis), is the most widespread subspecies of leopard and one of the rare and endangered species in China. It is currently confined to several isolated reserves, and little is known about its habitat network connectivity with land use changes. We proposed an approach for the evaluation of the impacts of land use changes on landscape connectivity for North China leopard. Location: The Great Taihang Region, in the north of China, covers the entire territory of Shanxi province, as well as some districts and counties in Beijing, Hebei and Henan provinces. Methods: We analysed multiple background layers affecting North China leopard movement patterns, including environmental and anthropogenic factors, and generated a landscape resistance surface. Then we used Circuit theory-based connectivity models to delineate pathways suitable for species movement, and evaluate the connectivity status of core areas and the impacts of land use changes on landscape connectivity. Results: We identified 33 least cos distance paths in 1990 and 34 paths in 2020, and four key barrier areas. The landscape connectivity has not been greatly improved with the land use changes, especially with the increase of forest land from 26.61 to 34.85%. Nevertheless, there is a decreasing trend on connectivity in some key movement barrier areas. Improving landscape connectivity at a broad spatial scale is as important as protecting the habitats (natural reserves) where the species lived. Main conclusions: Our study can serve as an example of how to explore the relationships between land use changes and landscape connectivity for species at broad spatial scales with limited movement patterns data. This information is proved to be critical for enhancing landscape connectivity for conservation concern of North China leopard and planning of natural reserves network.
28 Apr 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
28 Apr 2022Submission Checks Completed
28 Apr 2022Assigned to Editor
05 May 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Jun 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
27 Jun 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
02 Aug 20221st Revision Received
02 Aug 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
02 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
02 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
03 Aug 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Aug 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
09 Sep 20222nd Revision Received
10 Sep 2022Submission Checks Completed
10 Sep 2022Assigned to Editor
10 Sep 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
26 Sep 2022Editorial Decision: Accept