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Influence of human activities on the historical and current distribution of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys in the Qinling Mountains, China.

Research paper by Chengliang C Wang, Xiaowei X Wang, Xiaoguang X Qi, Songtao S Guo, Haitao H Zhao, Wei W Wei, Baoguo B Li

Indexed on: 24 Jan '15Published on: 24 Jan '15Published in: Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology



Abstract

Due to their rich animal diversity and the presence of rare and endemic species, the Qinling Mountains are listed as a significant global biodiversity area. The Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) has been distributed in this area since the Middle Pleistocene. Due to the gradual encroachment of humans into their habitat, both the distribution range and population sizes of R. roxellana have significantly decreased. Based on literature research as well as field and questionnaires, we investigated the influence of human activities on R. roxellana distribution in the Qinling Mountains. Human activity within the habitat of R. roxellana began in the Stone and Bronze Ages, though initially it had no significant influence on its populations. When China entered the Iron Age, however, different historical and social periods had a considerable impact on R. roxellana distribution. Although national and provincial level governments introduced strict protection policies with the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, human activities continued to influence R. roxellana distribution. Since the launch of the Natural Forest Protection Project across the Qinling Mountains in 1999, the quality of R. roxellana habitat has shown marked improvement. This research will help promote the survival and conservation of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey in the Qinling Mountains.