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Reassessing the conservation status of the giant panda using remote sensing

Nature Ecology & Evolutionvolume 1pages16351638 (2017) | Download Citation


The conservation status of the iconic giant panda is a barometer of global conservation efforts. The IUCN Red List has downgraded the panda’s extinction risk from “endangered” to “vulnerable”. Newly obtained, detailed GIS and remotely sensed data applied consistently over the last four decades show that panda habitat covered less area and was more fragmented in 2013 than in 1988 when the species was listed as endangered.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 41671534), Ministry of Science and Technology through the National Key Programme of Research and Development Project (2016YFC0503200), State Forestry Administration, Worldwide Fund for Nature, and U.S. National Science Foundation.

Author information


  1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100085, Beijing, China

    • Weihua Xu
    • , Lingqiao Kong
    • , Jingjing Zhang
    • , Yi Xiao
    • , Lu Zhang
    •  & Zhiyun Ouyang
  2. Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48823-5243, USA

    • Andrés Viña
    •  & Jianguo Liu
  3. Department of Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599, USA

    • Andrés Viña
    •  & Xiaodong Chen
  4. University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100049, Beijing, China

    • Lingqiao Kong
    •  & Jingjing Zhang
  5. Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Box 90328, Durham, NC, 27708, USA

    • Stuart L. Pimm
  6. College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang University, 310058, Hangzhou, China

    • Wu Yang


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W.X., A.V., S.L.P., J.L., and Z.O. designed research; W.X., A.V., L.K., J.Z., Y. X., and L.Z., performed research; W.X., L.K., J.Z., W.Y., and L.Z. analysed data; and W.X., A.V., S.L.P., W.Y., X.C., J.L., and Z.O. wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Stuart L. Pimm or Zhiyun Ouyang.

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