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The Edinburgh Consortium for Giant Panda Conservation and Landscape Restoration

The Edinburgh Consortium for Giant Panda Conservation and Forest Landscape Restoration is a partnership between several research and conservation organisations in and around Edinburgh, in collaboration with Chinese partners including the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda, the China Wildlife Conservation Association and a range of stakeholders and conservation managers. We are working towards a 10-year interdisciplinary Research Programme to develop practical solutions to forest landscape restoration that benefit giant pandas and people.

Principal research questions

Forest Landscape Restoration is a process that aims to regain ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested or degraded forest landscapes. To this end, we are focusing on research that provides a better understanding of the biophysical and social dynamics of the landscapes of Sichuan province, and especially the Wolong area. This research currently considers the following principal questions:

  • What are the main factors, including plant species diversity, that determine panda habitat suitability?
  • What is the likely future distribution of giant panda habitat in a changing climate?
  • How can spatial planning maximise connectivity of habitats for giant pandas and other important species?
  • What are the key human activities and livelihoods in the area, and what ecosystem services do they require and provide?
  • How are these activities likely to interact (positively or negatively) with panda habitat restoration and conservation policies?
  • What are the most effective formal and informal mechanisms (e.g. education, income generation through eco-tourism) for capacity building and co-management approaches?
  • How can local knowledge and expertise best be harnessed to support forest landscape restoration?
  • Therefore, what strategies exist for restoring giant panda habitats while