Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

A Population Census of Large Herbivores Based on UAV and Its Effects on Grazing Pressure in the Yellow-River-Source National Park, China

Version 1 : Received: 15 October 2019 / Approved: 16 October 2019 / Online: 16 October 2019 (04:30:27 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Yang, F.; Shao, Q.; Jiang, Z. A Population Census of Large Herbivores Based on UAV and Its Effects on Grazing Pressure in the Yellow-River-Source National Park, China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4402. Yang, F.; Shao, Q.; Jiang, Z. A Population Census of Large Herbivores Based on UAV and Its Effects on Grazing Pressure in the Yellow-River-Source National Park, China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4402.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4402
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16224402

Abstract

Using the Yellow-River-Source National Park (YRSNP) as a study site, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing and line transect method was used to investigate the number of wild herbivorous animals and livestock, including the kiang (Equus kiang) and Tibetan gazelle (Procapra picticaudata). A downscaling algorithm was used to generate the forage yield data in YRSNP based on 30 m spatial resolution. On this basis, we estimated the forage–livestock balance, which included both wild animals and livestock, and analyzed the effects of functional zone planning in national parks on the forage–livestock balance in YRSNP. The results showed that the estimates of large herbivore population numbers in YRSNP based on population density in the aerial sample strips, which were compared and validated with statistical data and warm season survey results, indicated that the number of kiangs and Tibetan gazelles in the 2017 cold season was 12900 and 12100, respectively. The number of domestic yaks, Tibetan sheep, and horses was 53400, 76800, and 800, respectively, and the total number of sheep units was 353200. The ratio of the number of large wild herbivores and livestock sheep units was 1:5; Large wild herbivores have different preferences for functional zones, preferring ecological restoration areas consisting mainly of degraded grassland; The grazing pressure indices of the core reserve areas and ecological restoration areas were 0.168 and 0.276, respectively, indicating that these two regions still have high grazing potential. However, the grazing pressure index of the traditional utilization areas was 1.754, indicating that these grasslands are severely overloaded; After the planning and implementation of functional zones, the grazing pressure index of YRSNP was 1.967. Under this measure, the number of livestock was not reduced and the grazing pressure nearly doubled, indicating that forage–livestock conflict has become more severe.

Subject Areas

UAV remote sensing; large wild herbivore populations; grazing pressure; functional zones; Yellow-River-Source National Park

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