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Ranging of Rhinopithecus bieti in the Samage Forest, China. II. Use of land cover types and altitudes


Li, D; Grueter, C C; Ren, B; Long, Y; Li, M; Peng, Z; Wei, F (2008). Ranging of Rhinopithecus bieti in the Samage Forest, China. II. Use of land cover types and altitudes. International Journal of Primatology, 29(5):1147-1173.

Abstract

We investigated composition and structure of a temperate montane forest called Samage at Baimaxueshan National Nature Reserve in Yunnan, one of the last refuges for the highly endangered black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti). There is a patchwork of vegetation types at Samage, and we distinguished 6 major land cover types within the home range of the focal group. We tracked the semihabituated Gehuaqing band for a full annual cycle to study their habitat utilization and altitudinal ranging. We analyzed the group’s selective use of particular habitat types via selection ratios. We calculated habitat availability from a GIS database. We found that they used mixed deciduous broadleaf/conifer forest disproportionately to its
availability in all months. Subjects completely avoided meadows. Pine and evergreen broadleaf forests acted as corridors between patches of mixed forest and monkeys
visited them occasionally, but at low frequencies and mostly in transit. The focal band stayed at elevations ranging from ca. 2600 m to 4000 m, and the mean elevation usedis 3200 m. We found evidence for seasonal variation in use of elevational zones. The band stayed at significantly higher elevations in summer than in spring. The descent in
spring was likely related to a flush of immature leaves at low-lying elevations. Availability of preferred fruits also had a highly positive influence on altitudinal ranging, i.e., during months with high fruit availability (late summer, early fall), the band stayed at medium elevations where preferred fruits were most abundant. Higher
concentrations of lichens and the snub-nosed monkeys’ search for not yet depleted fruits probably caused them to remain at mid-elevations in winter. There is no
significant correlation between climate parameters and elevation used. One of the main inferences of this investigation is that, contrary to previous accounts, Rhinopithecus bieti is not universally associated with high-elevation dark fir forest, but at Samage exhibits an overwhelming preference for mixed forest. Moreover, our analyses support the hypothesis that elevational migration, in this temperate-subtropical forest, is influenced by the temporal fruiting of major food trees and that climate has only a negligible effect on elevation use.

We investigated composition and structure of a temperate montane forest called Samage at Baimaxueshan National Nature Reserve in Yunnan, one of the last refuges for the highly endangered black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti). There is a patchwork of vegetation types at Samage, and we distinguished 6 major land cover types within the home range of the focal group. We tracked the semihabituated Gehuaqing band for a full annual cycle to study their habitat utilization and altitudinal ranging. We analyzed the group’s selective use of particular habitat types via selection ratios. We calculated habitat availability from a GIS database. We found that they used mixed deciduous broadleaf/conifer forest disproportionately to its
availability in all months. Subjects completely avoided meadows. Pine and evergreen broadleaf forests acted as corridors between patches of mixed forest and monkeys
visited them occasionally, but at low frequencies and mostly in transit. The focal band stayed at elevations ranging from ca. 2600 m to 4000 m, and the mean elevation usedis 3200 m. We found evidence for seasonal variation in use of elevational zones. The band stayed at significantly higher elevations in summer than in spring. The descent in
spring was likely related to a flush of immature leaves at low-lying elevations. Availability of preferred fruits also had a highly positive influence on altitudinal ranging, i.e., during months with high fruit availability (late summer, early fall), the band stayed at medium elevations where preferred fruits were most abundant. Higher
concentrations of lichens and the snub-nosed monkeys’ search for not yet depleted fruits probably caused them to remain at mid-elevations in winter. There is no
significant correlation between climate parameters and elevation used. One of the main inferences of this investigation is that, contrary to previous accounts, Rhinopithecus bieti is not universally associated with high-elevation dark fir forest, but at Samage exhibits an overwhelming preference for mixed forest. Moreover, our analyses support the hypothesis that elevational migration, in this temperate-subtropical forest, is influenced by the temporal fruiting of major food trees and that climate has only a negligible effect on elevation use.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:altitudinal migration - conifer - elevation - GIS - golden monkey - GPS - habitat use - lichen - mixed forest - Rhinopithecus - seasonality - temperate forest - Yunnan
Language:English
Date:25 September 2008
Deposited On:27 Oct 2008 07:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:31
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0164-0291
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s10764-008-9298-x
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-4684

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