Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2022, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (2): 173-185.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2022.02.001

• Ecosystem and Climate Change •     Next Articles

Predicting the Impact of Climate Change on Vulnerable Species in Gandaki River Basin, Central Himalayas

Raju RAI1,2(), ZHANG Yili1,2,3, LIU Linshan1,2,*(), Paras Bikram SINGH4,5, Basanta PAUDEL1,3, Bipin Kumar ACHARYA6, Narendra Raj KHANAL1,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Kathmandu Center for Research and Education, Chinese Academy of Sciences-Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu 44613, Nepal
    4. Guangdong Key Laboratory of Animal Conservation and Resource Utilization, Guangdong Public Laboratory of Wild Animal Conservation and Utilization, Institute of Zoology, Guangdong Academy of Science, Guangzhou 510260, China
    5. Biodiversity Conservation Society Nepal, Bagdol, Lalitpur 44700, Nepal
    6. Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2021-05-28 Accepted:2021-10-30 Online:2022-03-30 Published:2022-03-09
  • Contact: LIU Linshan
  • About author:Raju RAI, E-mail: rairaju@igsnrr.ac.cn
  • Supported by:
    The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research(2019QZKK0603);The Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20040201);The National Natural Science Foundation of China(41761144081)

Abstract:

Gandaki River Basin (GRB) is an important part of the central Himalayan region, which provides habitat for numerous wild species. However, climatic changes are making the habitat in this basin more vulnerable. This paper aims to assess the potential impacts of climate change on the spatial distributions of habitat changes for two vulnerable species, Himalayan black bear (Ursus thibetanus laniger) and common leopard (Panthera pardus fusca), using the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) species distribution model. Species occurrence locations were used along with several bioclimatic and topographic variables (elevation, slope and aspect) to fit the model and predict the potential distributions (current and future) of the species. The results show that the highly suitable area of Himalayan black bear within the GRB currently encompasses around 1642 km2 (5.01% area of the basin), which is predicted to increase by 51 km2 in the future (2050). Similarly, the habitat of common leopard is estimated as 3999 km2 (12.19% of the GRB area), which is likely to increase to 4806 km2 in 2050. Spatially, the habitat of Himalayan black bear is predicted to increase in the eastern part (Baseri, Tatopani and north from Bhainse) and to decrease in the eastern (Somdang, Chhekampar), western (Burtibang and Bobang) and northern (Sangboche, Manang, Chhekampar) parts of the study area. Similarly, the habitat of common leopard is projected to decrease particularly in the eastern, western and southern parts of the basin, although it is estimated to be extended in the southeastern (Bhainse), western (Harichaur and northern Sandhikhark) and north-western (Sangboche) parts of the basin. To determine the habitat impact, the environmental variables such as elevation, Bio 15 (precipitation seasonality) and Bio 16 (precipitation of wettest quarter) highly contribute to habitat change of Himalayan black bear; while Bio 13 (precipitation of wettest month) and Bio 15 are the main contributors for common leopard. Overall, this study predicted that the suitable habitat areas of both species are likely to be impacted by climate change at different altitudes in the future, and these are the areas that need more attention in order to protect these species.

Key words: climate change, habitat change, Himalayan black bear (Ursus thibetanus laniger), common leopard (Panthera pardus fusca), Gandaki River Basin