Yunnan province, SW China is one of the botanically most diverse terrestrial regions, particularly in the wide range of natural forest types, and part of the Himalaya biodiversity hotspot. The forest types are under considerable conversion pressure as land use intensifies with expanding human population and economic development. Conservation strategies based on the geographic patterns of botanical species richness could improve the effectiveness of forest policy and management.
Dr. Zhang Ming-gang, with his supervisor Prof. J. W. Ferry Slik and Prof. Zhou Zhe-kun of XTBG modeled all the woody species collected in Yunnan. They used the null model to remove the collection bias. In total, the spatial distribution of 1996 species showing significant non-random habitat preferences was modeled. Based on those significant species, three species diversity hotspots and seven major floristic regions were recognized.
A better network was proposed that can be relatively easily linked via a corridor system, which would make the network resilient to global change. Since the proposed network was explicitly designed to be space conserving, it provides an optimal conservation strategy that leaves room for economic development.
The study entitled “Using species distribution modeling to improve conservation and land use planning of Yunnan, China” has been published online in Biological Conservation, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2012.04.023,