November 20, 2014
Jianguo Liu and Andrés Viña
Journal or Book Title: Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Keywords: Bamboo, China, coupled human and natural systems (CHANS), ecosystem services, endangered species, giant pandas, protected areas, wildlife
Page Number(s): 108-125
Year Published: 2014
Plants are essential for the survival and sustainability of both humans and wildlife species around the world. However, human activities have directly and indirectly affected almost all plants, which in turn have produced cascading effects on humans and wildlife through disruption of crucial ecosystem services and wildlife habitat. Understanding such complex interactions is crucial for developing better policies that reconcile the needs of an ever-growing human population with biodiversity conservation. Using the coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) framework, this article synthesizes research on the complex interactions of plant species, giant pandas, and people. The CHANS framework is particularly useful for uncovering key patterns and processes behind plant-animal interactions modified by human activities. Our synthesis shows that many human factors, including socioeconomic and demographic, together with other factors (e.g., projected global climate change), exhibit reciprocal interactions with pandas and the plant species that comprise their habitat. Although substantial efforts have been made to preserve plants and wildlife, much work still remains to be done, including the expansion and more effective management of protected areas, use of native plant species in reforestation/afforestation programs, and active participation of local residents in conservation actions.