Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 2343–2363 | Cite as

Impacts of Demographic and Socioeconomic Factors on Spatio-temporal Dynamics of Panda Habitat

  • Li An
  • Guangming He
  • Zai Liang
  • Jianguo Liu


Demographic and socioeconomic factors of individual people and households may have significant impacts on their environment, which in turn may affect the spatio-temporal dynamics of wildlife habitat and local biodiversity. In the Wolong Nature Reserve (China) for giant panda conservation, local households live a rural lifestyle that has caused forest degradation by activities such as cutting fuelwood. Based on field data and a spatial agent-based model that integrates cross-scale data and cross-discipline models, we examine how panda habitat would respond to changes in a set of socioeconomic and demographic factors individually, and under a conservation scenario and a development scenario (setting factors to values that would benefit or degrade habitat, respectively). The model simulates each family member's life history (including needs, attitudes, and activities) and the household agents' interactions with each other and with the environment through their activities over 30 years. Our simulations show that among all the factors under consideration, providing cheaper electricity and changing the age structure through increasing marriage age or prolonging the interval between consecutive births could change habitat quantity significantly (at α = 0.05 level); and the differences in panda habitat between the two scenarios escalate over time. In addition to benefiting local policy-making, this study provides a new approach to studying human–environment interactions from the perspectives of individual needs and decisions.


Agent-based modeling Giant panda conservation Households Human demography Socioeconomics Spatial dynamics 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. An L., Liu J., Ouyang Z., Linderman M.A., Zhou S. and Zhang H. (2001). Simulating demographic and socioeconomic processes on household level and implications on giant panda habitat. Ecol. Model. 140: 31–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. An L., Linderman M.A., Qi J., Shortridge A. and Liu J. 2003b An agent-based spatial model for interdisciplinary and across-scale integration. Ann. Assoc. Am. Geogr. (in review).Google Scholar
  3. An L., Lupi F., Liu J., Linderman M.A. and Huang J. (2002). Modeling the choice to switch from fuelwood to electricity: implications for giant panda habitat conservation. Ecol. Econ. 42(3): 445–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. An L., Mertig A. and Liu J. (2003a). Adolescents’ leaving parental home: psychosocial correlates and implications for biodiversity conservation. Popul. Environ.: J. Interdiscipl. Stud. 24(5): 415–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Axinn W.G. and Barber J.S. (2003). Linking people and land use. In: Fox, J., Rindfuss, R.R., Walsh, S.J. and Mishra, V. (eds) People and the Environment: Approaches for Linking Household and Community Surveys to Remote Sensing and GIS, pp 285–313. Kluwer Academic Publishers, BostonGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark W.C. (2002). Research systems for a transition toward sustainability. In: Steffen, W., Jäger, J., Carson, D. and Bradshaw, C. (eds) Challenges of a Changing EarthProceedings of the Global Change Open Science Conference, Amsterdam, NL, 10–13 July 2001, pp. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooney R.S. and Shi J. (1987). Household extension of the elderly in China. Popul. Res. Policy Rev. 18(5): 451–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daily G.C. (1996). Socioeconomic equity, sustainability and earth's carrying capacity. Ecol. Appl. 6(4): 991–1001Google Scholar
  9. Ehrlich P.R. and Wilson E.O. (1991). Biodiversity studies: science and policy. Science 253: 758–762CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Feng G. and Hao L. (1992). Summary of 28 regional birth planning regulations in China. Population Res. (Renkou Yanjiu; in Chinese) 4: 28–33Google Scholar
  11. Gimblett H.R. (2002). Integrating geographic information systems and agent-based technologies for modeling and simulating social and ecological phenomena. In: Gimblett, H.R. (eds) Integrating Geographic Information Systems and Agent-Based Techniques for Simulating Social and Ecological Processes, pp 1–20. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Grimm V. (1999). Ten years of individual-based modeling in ecology: what have we learned and what could we learn in the future?. Ecol. Model. 115: 129–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gulyáa L. (2002). On the transition to agent-based modeling: implementation strategies from variables to agents. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. 20(4): 389–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hussain A. (2002). Demographic transition in China and its implication. World Dev. 30(10): 1823–1834CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jiang B. and Gimblett H.R. (2002). An agent-based approach to environmental and urban systems within geographic information systems. In: Gimblett, H.R. (eds) Integrating Geographic Information Systems and Agent-Based Techniques for Simulating Social and Ecological Processes, pp 171–189. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Klawon E. and Tiefenthaler J. (2001). Bargaining over family size: the determinants of fertility in Brazil. Popul. Res. Policy Rev. 20: 423–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lambin E.F. (2003). Linking socioeconomic and remote sensing data at the community or at the household level: two case studies from Africa. In: Fox, J., Rrndfuss, R.R., Walsh, S.J. and Mishra, V. (eds) People and the Environment: Approaches for Linking Household and Community Surveys to Remote Sensing and GIS, pp 223–240. Kluwer Academic Publishers, BostonGoogle Scholar
  18. Laurie A. and Pan W. (1991). Working group report on giant pandas in the wild. In: Klerman, D. and Roberts, M. (eds) Giant Panda and Red Panda Conservation Workshop, Working Group Reports, National Zoological Park, pp 5–12. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  19. Liang Z. (2001). The age of migration in China. Popul. Dev. Rev. 27(3): 499–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liang Z. and Ma Z. China's floating population: new evidence from the 2000 census. Population and Development Review. (in press).Google Scholar
  21. Lim K., Deadman P.J., Moran E., Brondizio E. and McCracken S. (2002). Agent-based simulations of household decision-making and land use change near Altamira, Brazil. In: Gimblett, H.R. (eds) Integrating Geographic Information Systems and Agent-Based Techniques for Simulating Social and Ecological Processes, pp 277–308. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Liu J. (2001). Integrating ecology with human demography, behaviorand socioeconomics: needs and approaches. Ecol. Model. 140(1–2): 1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu J, Daily G.C., Ehrlich P.R. and Luck G.W. (2003). Effects of household dynamics on resource consumption and biodiversity. Nature 421(6922): 530–533PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liu J., Linderman M., Ouyang Z., An L., Yang J. and Zhang H. (2001). Ecological degradation in protected areas: the case of Wolong Nature Reserve for giant pandas. Science 292: 98–101PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Liu J., Ouyang Z., Tan Y., Yang J. and Zhang H. (1999a). Changes in human population structure: implications for biodiversity. Popul. Environ.: J. Interdiscipl. Stud. 21: 46–58Google Scholar
  26. Liu J., Ouyang Z., Taylor W.W., Groop R. and Zhang H. (1999b). A framework for evaluating the effects of human factors ob wildlife habitat: the case of giant pandas. Conserv. Biol. 13: 1360–1370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Malthus T.R. (1798). An essay on the principle of population it affects the future improvement of society. Reprint, Pelican Books (1970). Harmondsworth, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  28. Merli M.G. and Smith M.L. (2002). Has the Chinese family planning policy been successful in changing fertility preferences?. Demography 39(3): 557–572PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Oreskes N., Shrader-Frechette K. and Belitz K. (1994). Verification, validation, and confirmation of numerical models in the earth sciences. Science 263(5147, Feb. 4, 1994): 641–646CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Pebley A.R. (1998). Demography and the environment. Demography 35(4): 377–389PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Perz S.G. (2001). Household demographic factors as life cycle determinants of land use in the Amzon. Popul. Res. Policy Rev. 20: 159–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rykiel E.I. (1996). Testing ecological models: the meaning of validation. Ecol. Model. 90(1996): 229–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schaller G.B., Hu J., Pan W. and Zhu J. (1985). The Giant Pandas of Wolong. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Schultz T.P. (1981). Economics of Population. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  35. Sushama P.N. (1996). Transition from high to replacement-level fertility in a Kerala village. Health Trans. Rev. 6: 115–136Google Scholar
  36. (1990). The Earth As Transformed by Human Action: Global and Regional Changes in the Biosphere over the Past 300 Years. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. (1999). Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  38. Wilson E.O. (1988). The current state of biological diversity. In: Wilson, E.O. (eds) Biodiversity, pp. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. (1987). Wolong Vegetation Cover and Plant Resources. Sichuan Science and Technology Press, Chengdu (China)Google Scholar
  40. Wolong Nature Reserve. 1996. Agricultural Census. Wolong (unpublishedin Chinese).Google Scholar
  41. Wolong Nature Reserve. 2000. The 2000 Nationwide Population Census. Wolong (unpublishedin Chinese).Google Scholar
  42. Wong J. (2001). China's sharply declining fertility: implications for its population, policy. Issues Stud. 37(3): 68–86Google Scholar
  43. Yang X. (2000). The fertility impact of temporary migration in China: a detachment hypothesis. Eur. J. Popul. 16: 163–183PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Yang Y. and Li C.(1992). Sichuan Forests. China Forestry Press, Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar
  45. Zimmer Z. and Kwong J. (2003). Family size and support of old adults in urban and rural China: current effects and future implications. Demography 40(1): 23–44PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Arts and Sciences 350University at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of Michigan, 430 E, UniversityAnn ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations