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Title: Study potential habitat distribution of Red panda Ailurus f. fulgens and their connectivity in Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary using maxent and linkage mapper
Sonam Tobgay
Nattapon Mahavik
นัฐพล มหาวิค
Naresuan University. Faculty of Agriculture,Natural Resources and Environment
Keywords: Red panda
linkage mapper
Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary
landscape connectivity
habitat modelling
climate change
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Naresuan University
Abstract: In the current era, habitat degradation and fragmentations are a severe threat to the survival of the species in natural habitats. It is caused by ever-growing anthropogenic activities leading to an unprecedented rate of climate change. The red panda as an endangered species is no exception. However, limited studies have been done in the context of the spatial distribution of habitats for red panda and their habitat connectivity in Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. Lack of such information remains a challenge while implementing effective and holistic conservation initiatives. Therefore, this study attempts to identify the distribution of potential habitats and their connectivity under different climate scenarios using the maxent and linkage mapper algorithms respectively. The model predicted 260km2 of potential habitat (fundamental niche) under the current climate scenario which is unequally distributed across Merak (54.5%), Sakteng (33.4%) and Joenkhar (12.2%) ranges connected by a least-cost corridor (length µ= 2.91 km) with several pinch points in it. Out of the total predicted habitat, more than 75% falls outside the designated core zones where the likelihood of anthropogenic disturbance is relatively high. With climate change, it is predicted that there will be an expansion in suitable habitat (up to ca. 26.5 percent) towards relatively higher elevation. However, predicted expansion is likely to make red panda more vulnerable to disturbances from seminomadic communities who practice extensive grazing in the higher elevation during the summer season. Climate change is predicted to increase the number of habitat fragmentations (up to ca. 13%) and linkages (up to ca. 29%). However; there won't be much impact on the quality and functionality of the predicted connectivity, except change in the centrality scores of few habitats. This indicates that connectivity with current climate scenarios will potentially facilitate the movement of red panda and will be also useful in the event of future climate change. Therefore, the current conservation initiatives should not be restricted to only habitats where the red panda occurs today but should be also extended to predicted future potential habitats. Such initiatives would enhance the capability of the red panda to adapt to future climate change; ensuring their long term persistence.  
Description: Master of Science (M.S.)
วิทยาศาสตรมหาบัณฑิต (วท.ม.)
Appears in Collections:คณะเกษตรศาสตร์ ทรัพยากรธรรมชาติและสิ่งแวดล้อม

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