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"A data set like this is a dream come true," said Ron Swaisgood, Ph.D., director of Recovery Ecology at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global, who is one of the study's senior authors. "We have new insights into the ecological processes behind the recent decision by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to downlist the panda from Endangered to Vulnerable. There is plenty of good news here for pandas, but we must also point out that these gains are being offset by some emerging new threats. The take-home message is that pandas are doing better, but we still have work to do."
The study, conducted from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2014, comprehensively outlines the situation facing giant pandas in forests in China. Good news is found in the observation that pandas, which typically prefer more mature, intact forests, are using younger secondary forests more than they had previously -- suggesting that protection measures put in place are allowing these forests to recover and become more suitable for pandas.
Data - Plots - Panda - Habitat - Data
"With data collected from more than 50,000 plots in panda habitat, these data presented many challenges for analysis," said Wei Wei, a scientist at China West Normal University and visiting scientist at San Diego Zoo Global. "But some of the findings are surprising, and will help managers and policymakers make good decisions for panda conservation."
Logging is also much less common in panda habitat...
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