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The effect of forest clear-cutting on habitat use in Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Shennongjia Nature Reserve, China

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The habitat use of two groups of Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) was observed, using the focal group method, for 7 months in four seasons from June 2000 to October 2001. The habitats were classed into primary forest and three successional habitats: after clear-cutting: grassland, shrub forest and young forest. The results showed that the large group of monkeys had larger range areas than the small group in the same season. Both groups had larger range sizes in summer or autumn than in winter or spring. They spent most of their time using primary forest and young forest, rarely used shrub forest and did not use grassland. In each season, they used the habitats non-randomly and preferred primary forest. The preference order of habitats for both groups every season was the same: primary forest > young forest > shrub forest ≥ grassland. The results suggested that primary forest was high-quality habitat and should be conserved as a top priority. Clear-cutting would cause habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, and should therefore be prohibited. High-quality habitat for the monkeys is difficult to restore from clear-cutting.

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We are grateful to the following people for helping field works: J.L. Yang, Y.H. Li, J.W. Yang and Y.G. Shun. This work was supported by a grant of the “973” program (code: G2000046805) and CAS Innovation Program (kscx2-sw-118 and kscx3-ioz-02).

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Correspondence to Yiming Li.

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Li, Y. The effect of forest clear-cutting on habitat use in Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Shennongjia Nature Reserve, China. Primates 45, 69–72 (2004).

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