Conservation Planning at Country Borders: A Case Study on the Daurian Steppe in China and Eastern Mongolia
|Xinhai Li1*, Songtao Liu2, Junjun Wu3|
|Corresponding Author: Xinhai Li, Tel: +86 10 64807898; Fax: +86 10 64807099; Email: [email protected]|
|Received: 2nd Nov-2015 Revised: 2nd Feb-2016 Accepted: 8th Feb-2016|
There is an urgent need to make long term conservation strategies in areas with global biodiversity significance where the economic development is fast. One major challenge for developing the strategies in the national boundary areas is the inconsistency of data from different countries. The Daurian steppe in the Northeastern China and the Eastern Mongolia has the best and most intact steppe ecosystem in the Palearctic that still supports stable herds of larger vertebrates (e.g. millions of Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa)). Based on a biodiversity conservation project (being carried out during 2006-2009), we conducted systematic conservation planning in this transboundary region, dealing with inconsistent information of species occurrences and threatening factors in the two countries. We selected two focal species, the Mongolian gazelle and the white-naped crane (Grus vipio), as conservation targets. We used watershed as planning unit, calculated cost values of every planning unit based on human footprint index and road density. Climate change vulnerability and ratio of protected areas were used as other sources of cost. The conservation targets of every planning unit were quantified using the range maps in Mongolia and point occurrences in China. Combining the values of conservation cost and targets, we proposed conservation priority areas for the two species. In summary, the two species are more abundant in Eastern Mongolia, where will suffer more severe climate change. The planning units with high conservation priority are mostly located at the border of China and Mongolia. Effective conservation of the priority areas we suggested would secure the long term survival of the Mongolia gazelle and the white-naped crane, as well as many other associated species and ecosystems.