Conservation biological study on the Chinese grouse (Bonasa sewerzowi) 2

Sun Yue-Hua

The Chinese grouse (Bonasa sewerzowi) is a rare and endemic mountain bird found almost exclusively in the highly threatened and fragile virgin spruce-fir forests of south-west China. The project will build on previous radio-tracking work which has characterised the habitat requirements of the bird by using satellite images of the southern Gansu province, China to locate likely populations. Survey work is likely to take place in hitherto undocumented regions between the Qinghai and western Sichuan mountain ranges both designated as endemic bird areas. Reports will be submitted to local and national forestry authorities with a view to influencing the design of recently commissioned re-forestation projects to create corridors between important virgin fragments. Using satellite images, habitat fragmentation patterns were determined, and forest patches at Lianhuashan Mountains were surveyed. It was found that the Chinese grouse at Lianhuashan Mountains is an isolated population now. The forest in the study area was seriously cut in the past 30 years, and with vegetation analysis it was found that the Chinese Grouse could survive in poor habitat for 10 years where forest was cut for about 60 percent, but in low density. Conservation suggestions were proposed. The Chinese grouse (Bonasa sewerzowi) is an endemic and rare mountain bird in China. Due to long time of deforestation and human agricultural activities, the habitat of Chinese grouse was seriously isolated and its number was thought to have declined dramatically and widely believed endangered. Results from work in 1999 recommend the enlargement of Lianhuashan Natural Reserve, to include the Yeliguan Forestry Farm, with the total size of more than 50,000 ha. To realize the above objective and protect the Chinese grouse and other endemic birds, the team will undertake two years work to prove the importance of a bigger reserve and compile a detailed management plan. This conservation project is the first initiative to combine a landscape survey with radiotracking studies in China. It will not only help the local government to manage their forestry practice, but also provide recommendations for the conservation and management of wildlife within fragmented habitats.

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