Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Zoning laws can help pandas and people live in peace

Date:
October 28, 2011
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
As the world's biodiversity hotspots are increasingly stressed by their human neighbors, zoning is becoming a common strategy to balance environmental protection and human needs. But a recent study shows zoning ordinances can be useful to balance human activities and wildlife habitat as long as a few limitations are remembered: Lines on a map don't show up in a forest, laws mean little without enforcement and animals can't read zoning ordinances.

Zoning laws can help people and pandas live in peace.
Credit: MSU

As the world's biodiversity hotspots are increasingly stressed by their human neighbors, zoning is becoming a common strategy to balance environmental protection and human needs. But a recent study conducted by Michigan State University researchers shows zoning for conservation demands reality checks.

Related Articles


"Zoning ordinances are rarely evaluated for their ability to make positive changes using empirical data on both human and biodiversity characteristics," said Jianguo (Jack) Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at MSU. "It's critical to examine both human and natural systems to see if ordinances are working and understand what changes might be needed."

The study, published in the current edition of Biological Conservation, shows that zoning is helping protect endangered giant pandas in China's Wolong Nature Reserve. The analysis from MSU's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability also reveals critical weaknesses.

According to the paper, zoning ordinances can be useful to balance human activities and wildlife habitat as long as a few limitations are remembered: Lines on a map don't show up in a forest, laws mean little without enforcement and animals can't read zoning ordinances.

"Zoning everywhere, in China and in the United States, is about drawing lines on a piece of paper. But the big challenge is always how to bring those lines to life," said Vanessa Hull, doctoral candidate in CSIS and the paper's lead author. "The people who live in that landscape can't see it and there are no fences. We're showing that zoning is an effective tool for controlling some human impacts but not others."

Increasingly, governments are turning to zoning ordinances to protect habitat while still allowing people access to a livelihood. People in Wolong historically have farmed, chopped down trees for fuel and construction, kept livestock and accommodated tourists who stream in to see pandas in breeding centers.

Pandas are picky about their habitat -- needing gentle slopes, moderate elevation and plenty of bamboo to munch. While other species that contribute to Wolong's rich biodiversity benefit from conservation efforts, the charismatic pandas drive much of the policy there.

Wolong has been zoned into three areas: First, the core area strictly limits human activity to minimize human impact on pandas. Second, the experimental area thrives with homes, businesses and roads. In between is a buffer zone of controlled human access intended to acknowledge that it's hard to declare a forest pristine if a hotel is right next door.

Hull said that zoning in Wolong is protecting some but not all prime panda real estate. The study also is helping show where improvements are needed. Including:

  • Much of the buffer zone is important for pandas.
  • The rules of the buffer zone are ambiguous. Without clear rules, land use manager can't rely on clear guidelines when fielding requests for variances.
  • Even small instances of disregard for zoning ordinances -- especially in the case of roaming livestock -- can have significant effects on panda habitat.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, MSU's Distinguished Fellowship Program, the William and Evelyn Taylor International Engagement Program, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Liu's work also is supported by MSU AgBioResearch.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vanessa Hull, Weihua Xu, Wei Liu, Shiqiang Zhou, Andrés Viña, Jindong Zhang, Mao-Ning Tuanmu, Jinyan Huang, Marc Linderman, Xiaodong Chen, Yan Huang, Zhiyun Ouyang, Hemin Zhang, Jianguo Liu. Evaluating the efficacy of zoning designations for protected area management. Biological Conservation, 2011 DOI: %uFEFF%uFEFF%uFEFF10.1016/j.biocon.2011.09.007

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Zoning laws can help pandas and people live in peace." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111028103723.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2011, October 28). Zoning laws can help pandas and people live in peace. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111028103723.htm
Michigan State University. "Zoning laws can help pandas and people live in peace." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111028103723.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins