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Potential habitat corridors and restoration areas for the black-and-white snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus bieti in Yunnan, China

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The black-and-white snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus bieti is endemic to China, where its population is fragmented into 15 isolated groups and threatened despite efforts to protect the species. Here we analyse possible habitat connectivity between the groups reported in Yunnan, using genetic, least-cost path and Euclidean distances. We detect genetic isolation between the northern and southern groups but not among the northern groups. We show that genetic distance is better explained by human disturbance and land-cover least-cost paths than by Euclidian distance. High-quality habitats were found to be more fragmented in the southern part of the study area and interspersed with human-influenced areas unsuitable for black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys, which may explain the genetic isolation of the southern groups. Potential corridors are identified based on the least-cost path analysis, and seven sensitive areas are proposed for restoration. We recommend (1) that restoration is focused on the current range of the monkeys, with efforts to reduce human disturbance and human population pressure and increase public awareness, and (2) the development of a long-term plan for habitat restoration and corridor design in the areas between groups.
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... All data were geo-corrected in ERDAS 9.2 with a root-mean-square (RMS) error < 1. LULC types (such as Armand pine and hemlock) were assigned one of five habitat categories, based on the Yunnan vegetation classification system and the monkey's habitat preferences. These five habitat categories, in declining quality, were optimal habitat, suboptimal habitat, suitable habitat, unfavorable habitat, and highly unfavorable habitat [5]. ...
... We should enhance habitat connectivity and build up ecological corridors to promote gene exchange and conserve genetic diversity in these areas where connectivity with other monkey groups is impeded by agriculture and grazing land, roads, and villages. This is especially true for the isolated monkey groups (C3, C6, and C14) [4][5][6]44]. ...
... The study area and locations of monkey groups in Yunnan Province (China). The numbers labeling each green area represent the monkey group number(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15). ...
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The habitats of the already endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) are degrading as village economies develop in and around these habitat areas, increasing the depopulation and biodiversity risk of the monkey. The paper aims to show the areas of these monkeys’ high-quality habitats that are at highest risk of degradation by continued village development and hence be the focus of conservation efforts. Our analysis leveraged multiple tools, including primary component analysis, the InVEST Habitat-Quality model, and GIS spatial analysis. We enhanced our analysis by looking at habitat quality as it relates to the habitat suitability for the monkey specifically, instead of general habitat quality. We also focused on the impact of the smallest administrative scale in China—the village. These foci produced a clearer picture of the monkeys’ and villages’ situations, allowing for more targeted discussions on win–win solutions for both the monkeys and the village inhabitants. The results show that the northern habitat for the monkey is currently higher quality than the southern habitat, and correspondingly, the village development in the north is lower than in the south. Hence, we recommend conservation efforts be focused on the northern areas, though we also encourage the southern habitats to be protected from further degradation lest they degrade beyond the point of supporting any monkeys. We encourage developing a strategy that balances ecological protection and economic development in the northern region, a long-term plan for the southern region to reduce human disturbance, increase effective habitat restoration, and improve corridor design.
... Although nearly 20 years has passed since the inception of landscape genetics, its application to primates is still in its infancy. 13 19,31,32,35 However, a few studies were new, applying landscape genetic analyses in combination with traditional population genetic tests for the first time in that species or population, 26,34,36 or taking an adaptive focus from previous neutral population genetics analyses. 29 While nearly all studies found evidence of restricted gene flow, the landscape barriers varied by taxon, geographic region, and the intensity of anthropogenic threat. ...
... gene flow (14 of 17 studies), 28,29,34 and well-known biogeographic dispersal barriers such as rivers and mountain ranges were characteristically identified as being difficult to traverse (that is, animals encountering these landscape features experienced high resistance to movement). 22,23,36,37 Moreover, deforestation, 19,24,26,27,[30][31][32][33]35 urbanization, 19,28,32,34 and high human population densities 33 and/or activity 26,27,[30][31][32]35 were typically identified as posing higher resistance to primate gene flow, than areas experiencing less anthropogenic disturbance. These patterns are not unique to primates and have been found to affect taxa at a global scale. ...
... gene flow (14 of 17 studies), 28,29,34 and well-known biogeographic dispersal barriers such as rivers and mountain ranges were characteristically identified as being difficult to traverse (that is, animals encountering these landscape features experienced high resistance to movement). 22,23,36,37 Moreover, deforestation, 19,24,26,27,[30][31][32][33]35 urbanization, 19,28,32,34 and high human population densities 33 and/or activity 26,27,[30][31][32]35 were typically identified as posing higher resistance to primate gene flow, than areas experiencing less anthropogenic disturbance. These patterns are not unique to primates and have been found to affect taxa at a global scale. ...
Article
Landscape genetics is an emerging field that integrates population genetics, landscape ecology, and spatial statistics to investigate how geographical and environmental features and evolutionary processes such as gene flow, genetic drift, and selection structure genetic variation at both the population and individual levels, with implications for ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. Despite being particularly well suited for primatologists, this method is currently underutilized. Here, we synthesize the current state of research on landscape genetics in primates. We begin by outlining how landscape genetics has been used to disentangle the drivers of diversity, followed by a review of how landscape genetic methods have been applied to primates. This is followed by a section highlighting special considerations when applying the methods to primates, and a practical guide to facilitate further landscape genetics studies using both existing and de novo datasets. We conclude by exploring future avenues of inquiry that could be facilitated by recent developments as well as underdeveloped applications of landscape genetics to primates.
... Local people are also supportive of the concept of restoring unproductive rubber plantations to partially restore rainforest (Ahlheim et al. 2015) by enhancing connectivity in addition to increasing forest coverage. Determining the best practices for effectively utilizing limited land resources to conserve the most important areas for biodiversity and to restore the connectivity of the habitat network represents a key research topic (Saunders et al. 1993;Li et al. 2014;Zhang et al. 2016). ...
... The results allow targeted interventions which maximizes the effectiveness of conservation outcomes at the minimum cost and are applicable for local landuse planners and conservationists. It answers the two main concerns which face conservationists dealing with the structural fragmentation: the conservation of remnant patches and the effective use of limited resources to maximize conservation value (Li et al. 2014;Zhang et al. 2016). The decrease in connectivity found by this study and others studies for the forested area in Xishuangbanna is consistent despite different approaches and distances (Fu et al. 2010;Liu et al. 2014). ...
... Over 1500 nodes were considered in this study, including forest patches, and the low-profit rubber plantation patches which could be restored to forest were identified to facilitate conservation (higher than any former similar study (i.e. Fu et al. 2010;Shanthala Devi et al. 2013;Li et al. 2014). ...
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Context Maintaining connectivity is critical for fragmented habitat networks to retain native species. The tropical forest in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China, is a biodiversity hotspot for China, but is also vulnerable to deforestation due to rapid expansion of rubber plantations, thus better understanding of connectivity may be crucial to species persistence. Objectives To quantify the functional connectivity changes in the forest in Xishuangbanna from 1976 to 2014, and identify the conservation and restoration priorities for effective forest conservation and management. Methods Using the graph theory (in Conefor sensinode 2.6), forest connectivity from 1976 to 2014 was quantified using probability of connectivity and number of components indexes. The importance of each forest patch during each period and the potential contribution of low-profit rubber plantation patches in 2014 was quantified and ranked by delta values for PC (dPC) index. Results Connectivity of forest in Xishuangbanna has progressively decreased over the last 40 years. The ten forest patches which had the highest dPC value remained almost the same for all five periods between 1976 and 2014, though relative importance varied. The 50 most potentially important low-profit rubber plantation patches were identified and mapped, and provide a target for effective restoration efforts to facilitate efficient use of funding to best improve conservation outcomes. Conclusions Targeted and effective interventions for landscape scale conservation and management can be made based on graph theory and connectivity analysis. Restoring low-profit rubber provides a mechanism for reconnecting the forest as an effective conservation tool. Here we show the application of this approach to restore forest and most effectively increase connectivity at minimum economic cost.
... The Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (YSM) (Rhinopithecus bieti) is an endemic and flagship species in Southwest China, categorized as a Class I Protected Animal under China's Wild-life Law, and listed as an Endangered Species on the IUCN Red List (Bleisch and Richardson, 2008;Li et al., 2015;Long et al., 1996). Surveys have shown that the YSMs live in 16 isolated groups, with a total of above 3000 individuals in the junction of Yunnan Province, Sichuan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region, from 1800 m to 4700 m elevation (Ren et al., 2016;Wu et al., 2005). ...
... Because of habitat fragmentation, the YSMs may incur a high energy cost if they travel long distances between core habitat patches Ren et al., 2016;. The negative effects of habitat fragmentation on wildlife may decrease wildlife diversity directly or indirectly by losing habitat which supports wildlife (Breininger et al., 2012;Li et al., 2015). It may also prevent genetic exchange between populations, making the species more vulnerable to extinction (Grueter et al., 2012;Li and Yang, 2009;Xia et al., 2016;Liu et al., 2009). ...
... However, few researchers have studied the five NRs as a whole to understand the YSMs status in Southwest China, which is one of the most ecologically important areas worldwide. Most of the existing studies only focused on a single nature reserve or a narrow range from Mangkang in Tibet to Yunlongtianchi in the Yunling Mountains, in Yunnan Province which covers an area of approximately 21,000 km 2 and extends approximately 350 km from north to south and 60 km from east to west (Li et al., 2015;Wu et al., 2005;Xue et al., 2011;Zhang et al., 2016). As groups of the YSMs are scattered in the Three Parallel Rivers region in a narrow range area with rugged terrain, it is difficult to carry out field surveys (Li et al., 2015;Zhang et al., 2016). ...
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In Southwest China, five Nature Reserves (NRs) (Mangkang, Baimaxueshan, Yunling, Habaxueshan, and Yunlongtianchi) play a key role in protecting the endemic and endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (YSM) (Rhinopithecus bieti). However, increasing human activities threaten its habitats and corridors. We used a GIS-based Niche Model to delineate potential core habitats (PCHs) of the YSMs and a Linkage Mapper corridor simulation tool to restore potential connectivity corridors (PCCs), and defined five scenarios. A normalized importance value index (NIVI) was established to identify the protection priority areas (PPAs) for the YSMs for five scenarios. The results indicated that locations of the habitats and corridors were different in the five scenarios, thereby influencing the distribution of the PPAs and protection network of the YSMs. The NIVI value of Baimaxueshan nature reserve was 1 in the five scenarios, which implied the maximum importance. There were only 7 PCHs and 16 PCCs (with the longest average length of 223.13 km) which were mainly located around 5 NRs in scenario III. The protection network of the YSMs was composed of 16 PCHs, 18 PCCs, and 5 NRs. Under each scenario, most of the PCHs and the PCCs were located in the south of the study area. The five NRs only covered 2 PPAs of the YSMs. We suggest that the southern part of the study area needs to be strictly protected and human activities should be limited. The area of the five NRs should be expanded to maximize protection of the YSMs in the future.
... In this study, based on the research of Wu et al. (2009) and Chardon, Adriaensen & Matthysen (2003), we set resistance surface cost to two fixed values, giving the most suitable landscape types and the most unsuitable landscape types a cost value of 1 and 100, respectively. In addition, based on the results of Li et al. (2014), we assigned a cost of 1 to optimal habitat for R. bieti (Spruce-fir forests, Coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest), a cost of 50 (shrubbery, Sclerophyllous evergreen broad-leaved forests) and 60 (Broad-leaved forests) to suitable habitats, a cost of 70 to unsuitable habitats (barren land, Non-forest land and Yunnan pine forests), and a cost of 100 to habitats containing barriers to movement (farmland and rangeland). The land-use map (20 × 20 mresolution) we used is derived from an assemblage of 13 SPOT 5 satellite images (November 2004, 60 × 60 km) covering the study area. ...
... Such data are essential for developing management plans for species conservation and habitat restoration. Recent genetic evidence indicates that human-induced habitat fragmentation has led to a decrease in the population size and genetic variability of R. bieti (Li et al., 2014). Based on our results, we recommend that improved habitat suitability for the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey requires protecting existing spruce-fir forests, regenerating new spruce-fir forests, constructing corridor between spruce-fir forests and Yunnan Pine Forest in order to promote movement, dispersal, and increased gene flow across breeding bands. ...
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An understanding of primate movement patterns in response to natural and anthropogenically induced changes in habitat heterogeneity, food availability, and plant species distribution is essential for developing effective management and conservation programs. Therefore, from July 2013 to June 2014, we examined the effects of landscape configuration on the ranging behavior (daily path length, DPL) of the Endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey ( Rhinopithecus bieti ) in the Baimaxueshan National Nature Reserve (27°34′N, 99°17′E) in Gehuaqing, China. Given the extreme difficulties in following the study group across high altitude mountainous terrain across an elevation of 2,500–4,000 m, we were only able to collect DPL using 3-4 GPS points per day on 21 individual days. We found that R. bieti traveled the shortest DPL in winter (1,141.31 m), followed by spring (2,034.06 m) and autumn (2,131.19 m). The cost distance, a statistical tool designed to estimate the difficulty of a species moving across its distributional range, was lowest in autumn (205.47), followed by spring (225.93) and winter (432.59) (one-way ANOVA: F = 3.852, P = 0.026, df = 2). The habitat fragmentation index (HFI), which measures the density of forest patches, indicated areas visited in the winter were more fragmented (HFI = 2.16) compared to spring (HFI = 1.83) or autumn (HFI = 1.3). Although our results should be considered preliminary, they suggest that both the availability of suitable travel routes and habitat fragmentation, driven by high-intensity human disturbance, constrain the movement of R. bieti . We found that undisturbed areas of the bands’ range contained a high density of lichens, which represent a nutritious and abundant and year-round food source for Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys. In order to protect this Endangered species, we recommend that researchers construct detailed maps of landscape heterogeneity, particularly habitat connectivity, forest fragmentation, and seasonal variation in the location of major food patches in order to better understand and mitigate the effects of seasonal habitat change on patterns of R. bieti habitat utilization and population viability.
... The most widespread impacts on primates from road infrastructure were habitat loss and fragmentation. These can result in secondary direct and indirect impacts, including a reduction in access to resources and hence primates' abundance near roads and genetic exchange between populations (Li et al., 2015;Aquino et al., 2016). Roads open up previously undisturbed areas to numerous anthropogenic activities, namely, logging, hunting, agriculture, livestock grazing, and mining and drilling (e.g., Rawson et al., 2011). ...
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Most primate populations are declining, with 60% of species facing extinction. The expansion of transportation and service corridors (T&S), i.e. roads, rail, and utility and service lines, poses a significant yet underappreciated threat. With the development of T&S corridors predicted to increase across primates' ranges, it is necessary to understand the current extent of its impacts on primates, the available options to mitigate these effectively, and recognize research and knowledge gaps. By employing a systematic search approach to identify literature that described the relationship between primates and T&S corridors, we extracted information from 327 studies published between 1980 to 2020. Our results revealed that 218 species and subspecies across 62 genera are affected, significantly more than the 92 listed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The majority of studies took place in Asia (45%), followed by mainland Africa (31%), the Neotropics (22%), and Madagascar (2%). Brazil, Indonesia, Equatorial Guinea, Vietnam, and Madagascar contained the greatest number of affected primate species. Asia featured the highest number of species affected by roads, electrical transmission lines, and pipelines and the only studies addressing the impact of rail and aerial tramways on primates. The impact of seismic lines only emerged in literature from Africa and the Neotropics. Impacts are diverse and multifaceted, e.g. animal‐vehicle collisions, electrocutions, habitat loss and fragmentation, impeded movement and genetic exchange, behavioural changes, exposure to pollution, and mortality associated with hunting. Although several mitigation measures were recommended, only 41% of studies focused on their implementation, whilst only 29% evaluated their effectiveness. Finally, there was a clear bias in the species and regions benefiting from research on this topic. We recommend that government and conservation bodies recognise T&S corridors as a serious and mounting threat to primates and that further research in this area is encouraged. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... La première étape consiste à fixer les bornes caractérisant les milieux les plus attractifs et perméables et ceux bloquants ou répulsifs. Les valeurs des classes intermédiaires peuvent être définies à partir de fonction de transformation de type exponentielle (par exemple Trainor et al., 2013;Keeley et al., 2016;Duflot et al., 2018), logarithmique (Braaker et al., 2017), sigmoïdale (Moulherat et al., 2020) ou suivant d'autres règles cherchant à dissocier clairement les classes entre elles (Clauzel, Xiqing, et al., 2015;Li et al., 2015;Sahraoui et al., 2017). Bien que les analyses de sensibilité des valeurs de coûts soient encore rares, certains auteurs ont en effet montré que l'écart relatif entre les valeurs est plus important que les valeurs en soient (Chardon et al., 2003;Rayfield et al., 2011). ...
Thesis
La biodiversité est confrontée à une érosion accélérée et est devenue une préoccupation environnementale mondiale ces dernières décennies. En France, la séquence Éviter–Réduire–Compenser (ERC) est un des outils réglementaires mis en place dans un contexte de destruction et de fragmentation des habitats d’espèces. Elle permet le développement des territoires tout en visant une absence de perte nette de biodiversité. Cependant, malgré les récentes évolutions réglementaires européennes et françaises, le triptyque ERC présente de nombreuses limites et enjeux d’ordre opérationnel. En positionnant nos travaux à l’interface entre recherche et opérationnalité, nous proposons un cadre méthodologique basé sur plusieurs approches de modélisation afin d’améliorer les processus d’évaluation et décisionnels aux différentes étapes d’aménagement, de la planification à l’opérationnel au moment de l’autorisation des projets. Dans une première partie du travail, nous intégrons les enjeux spatio-temporels de la biodiversité à l’ensemble de la séquence ERC, de l’évaluation des impacts potentiels au dimensionnement des mesures écologiques. À partir du cas précis de l’aménagement du Grand Stade de Lyon, nous montrons l’intérêt de combiner les modèles de distribution d’espèces et les graphes paysager pour identifier les réseaux écologiques et poser un cadre de calcul de l’équivalence écologique basé sur le volet fonctionnel de la biodiversité. Intégrer les dimensions spatiales et temporelles permet d’accroitre la connectivité des habitats et améliorer la conception des projets. Nous montrons ensuite qu’organiser la compensation à l’échelle des territoires en les intégrant aux réseaux écologiques améliore davantage les bénéfices et réduit le risque d’échecs des mesures. Notre démarche est présentée dans le contexte périurbain de l’Ouest de Lyon. Enfin, nous démontrons les implications d’une démarche anticipée et planifiée de la séquence ERC dans la planification stratégique des territoires. Pour cela, nous montrons dans le cadre de la Métropole de Toulouse l’intérêt d’étudier conjointement les dynamiques urbaines et écologiques pour mettre en place une stratégie de conservation de la biodiversité à l’horizon 2040 en assurant l’absence de perte nette sur les habitats d’espèces et leur connectivité selon différentes trajectoires d’urbanisation et de ratio de compensation. Cette thèse offre une approche globale pour orienter les décideurs et améliorer la prise en compte des fonctionnalités écologiques à différentes échelles spatiales et temporelles dans l’aménagement des territoires et l’application de la séquence ERC. Ce travail est basé sur des logiciels novateurs et accessibles pour tous les acteurs et constitue une contribution intéressante à l’appui des maitres d’ouvrage qui souhaitent s’assurer de l’absence d'effets significatifs ou irréversibles sur la biodiversité, et des autorités environnementales qui veillent à ce que l’ensemble des enjeux environnementaux soient bien pris en compte dans la conception des projets d’aménagement.
Chapter
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Biodiversity conservation is becoming more challenging and imminent due to rapid habitat loss and fragmentation under ever growing global demand for natural resource. Habitat loss and fragmentation can lower migration rate of a species populations, thereby reducing gene flow and genetic variability, leading to increased risk of extinction. Because of the relationship between genetic diversity and landscape characters, biodiversity conservation research should include study on landscape characteristics and their changes. Thus, conservation efforts should not only focus on a specific species itself, but also consider all components of its habitats. In this paper we discussed the relationship between landscape structure and genetic diversity using the Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys as an example. Landscape genetics is an interdisciplinary of population genetics, landscape ecology, and spatial statistics. It is used to quantify the effects of landscape characters on population genetic structures. Results from such studies may have great applications for biodiversity conservation and reserve management. There are five major research categories: (1) quantifying influence of landscape variables on genetic variation; (2) identifying barriers to gene flow; (3) identifying source-sink dynamics and movement corridors; (4) understanding the spatial and temporal scale of ecological processes; and (5) testing species-specific ecological hypotheses. Landscape genetics is becoming a popular research area, because it opens the possibility to investigate ecological processes through genetic data and to analyze how these processes operate in the real world. Landscape genetics have heuristic, as well as practical, values in encouraging landscape ecologists to think more about biological processes rather than spatial patterns, and in encouraging population geneticists to consider the quality of a landscape instead of mere spatial distance. The use of molecular genetic is a new research method in testing landscape ecological hypotheses. The habitat connectivity was studied using a least-cost model and genetic data of the Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti). We presented the connectivity and the habitat areas that were sensitive to overall connectivity. The Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) is one of the rarest species in severe danger. Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, its gene communication was blocked and genetic diversity was threatened. The results show that only monkey groups in S3 were better connected, and other groups were poorly connected. The subpopulations north to S3 were affected by anthropogenic barriers less than the subpopulations south to S3. The potential dispersal corridor between populations was protracted and the important area to restore was located. The sensitive areas were concentrated in subpopulations among S3, S4 and S5 in central and south areas. These sensitive areas should be protect and restore preferential. Our paper also found that population geneticists could be investigated using landscape ecological data. We proposed that (1) a landscape approach should go beyond testing the effect of distance; (2) disturbance and landscape change could be incorporated into the study design; (3) simulation model might help establish a mechanistic link; (4) the spatial and temporal variability of site conditions was important to explaining quantitative traits and differences. Under the influence of social and economic development, natural ecosystems are increasingly threatened by disturbances such as habitat degradation, climatic changes, and invasive species etc. It is believed that landscape genetics would bridge researchers from micro-to macro-ecology. Our current focus of the research was landscape connectivity using genetic data, but interdisciplinary communication should be encouraged and facilitated for future study.
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The Yunnan snub-nosed monkey is endemic to China and is one of the world's 25 most endangered of the snub-nosed monkey species. The Laojun Mountain Area (LMA) provides a significant habitat for the monkey and a "corridor" for the whole distribution area. However, the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey is facing habitat loss and a shrinking population size. The spatial distribution pattern of its potential habitats is very important for designing biological corridors. Despite its existence for many years, little is known about the potential habitat distribution in the study site. This study is based on the "3S" (GIS-Geography Information System, RS-Remote Sensing, GPS-Global Positioning System) techniques and multiple group discriminant analysis (MGDA) in SAS to develop a spatial model of the Laojun Mountain Area (about 7,231 km2) to simulate the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey's potential habitat conditions. The study results indicated that a significant difference was found when comparing the predicted potential habitat with the existing habitat. The predicted area was 6,226 km2, accounting for 86.59% of the total area, which was much greater than the existing one of 2,802 km2, accounting for 38.74% of the total area. Also, the connectivity of the predicted area was much stronger than current conditions.