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Giant Pandas’ Bamboo Threatened by Climate Change

By Cassie Ryan
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 12, 2012 Last Updated: November 12, 2012
Related articles: Science » Earth & Environment
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One of about 275 wild Qinling pandas in the study region. Their isolation has resulted in genetic variation from other giant pandas. Some, like this one, are brownish. (Yange Yong)

One of about 275 wild Qinling pandas in the study region. Their isolation has resulted in genetic variation from other giant pandas. Some, like this one, are brownish. (Yange Yong)

Detailed forecasts of climate change show the three most common bamboo species in China’s northwestern forests that pandas rely on will be severely affected.

The researchers looked at plants in the Qinling Mountains, which are home to about 17 percent of the wild panda population.

Bamboo has an unusual reproductive cycle, for example the species studied only flower every 30 to 35 years, making them vulnerable to change.

“Understanding impacts of climate change is an important way for science to assist in making good decisions,” said study co-author Jianguo Liu at Michigan State University in a press release.

“Looking at the climate impact on the bamboo can help us prepare for the challenges that the panda will likely face in the future.”

The researchers used various factors, including historic data of rain and temperature ranges, to produce their models, which can help with planning to protect regions where bamboo has better survival chances, and areas that could act as corridors for pandas to leave afflicted habitat.

“We will need proactive actions to protect the current giant panda habitats,” concluded study co-author Mao-Ning Tuanmu at Yale University in the release. “We need time to look at areas that might become panda habitat in the future, and to think now about maintaining connectivity of areas of good panda habitat and habitat for other species.”

“What will be needed is speed.”

The findings were published in Nature Climate Change on Nov. 11.

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