RESEARCH

Environmental Management

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 942-951

Use of Remote-Trip Cameras for Wildlife Surveys and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Conservation Activities at a Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province, China

  • Wang DajunAffiliated withCollege of Life Sciences, Peking University
  • , Li ShengAffiliated withCollege of Life Sciences, Peking University
  • , William J. McSheaAffiliated withSmithsonian’s National Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Society, Joint Forest Ecology Program, Conservation and Research Center Email author 
  • , Li Ming FuAffiliated withTangjiahe Nature Reserve, Sichuan Forestry Administration, Sichuan Province

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Abstract

Monitoring the effectiveness of management activities within reserves is always a complicated task. When the focus of management activities is mammals, it is difficult to monitor their populations in a way that is rapid, effective, and inexpensive. We report on a mammal survey of a reserve in southwest China using remote-trip cameras. We surveyed 329 locations over 2 field seasons in 2002 and 2003. Sixteen species of mammals were detected with these cameras, with four species documented for the first time. After accounting for variation due to slope, aspect, elevation, and habitat type, the distribution of six species was positively associated with the location of conservation stations and/or patrolling routes. Species of medium-sized mammals are excellent candidates for monitoring programs based on these cameras, due to their relative abundance, sufficient size to be detected by the camera units, and sensitivity to human activity. The distribution of mammals relative to management efforts is a relatively rapid means to assess reserve effectiveness. The repeat use of the cameras as part of a monitoring plan should provide a quantifiable measure of reserve effectiveness.

Keywords

Monitoring China, mammals Remote-trip cameras Protected areas management Patrolling