Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (7): 1098-1112.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1647-5

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Anthropogenic effect on forest landscape pattern and Cervidae habitats in northeastern China

Wen WU1(), Yuehui LI2,*(), Yuanman HU2, Yu CHANG2, Zaiping XIONG2   

  1. 1. Jangho Architecture College, Liaoning Provincial Key Laboratory of Urban and Architectural Digital Technology, Northeastern University, Shenyang 110819, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Management, Institute of Applied Ecology, CAS, Shenyang 110016, China
  • Received:2018-05-10 Accepted:2019-01-22 Online:2019-07-25 Published:2019-07-25
  • Contact: Yuehui LI;
  • About author:

    Author: Wu Wen, PhD, specialized in landscape ecology. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41871197, No.41271201;The Doctoral Scientific Research Foundation of Liaoning Province, No.20170520280;The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China, No.171104003


Species abundance and habitat distribution are two important aspects of species conservation studies and both are affected by similar environmental factors. Forest resource inventory data in 2010 were used to evaluate the patterns of habitat for target species of Cervidae in six typical forestry bureaus of the Yichun forest area in the Lesser Xing’an Mountains, northeastern China. A habitat suitability index (HSI) model was used based on elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation and age of tree. These five environmental factors were selected by boosted regression tree (BRT) analysis from 14 environmental variables collected during field surveys. Changes in habitat caused by anthropogenic activities mainly involving settlement and road factors were also considered. The results identified 1780.49 km2 of most-suitable and 1770.70 km2 of unsuitable habitat areas under natural conditions, covering 16.38% and 16.29% of the entire study area, respectively. The area of most-suitable habitat had been reduced by 4.86% when human interference was taken into account, whereas the unsuitable habitat area had increased by 11.3%, indicating that anthropogenic disturbance turned some potential habitats into unsuitable ones. Landscape metrics indicated that average patch area declined while patch density and edge density increased. This suggests that as habitat becomes fragmented and its quality becomes degraded by human activities, cervid populations will be threatened with extirpation. The study helped identify the spatial extent of habitat influenced by anthropogenic interference for the local cervid population. As cervid species clearly avoid human activities, more attention should be paid on considering the way and intensity of human activities for habitat management as fully as possible.

Key words: Cervidae, boosted regression tree, habitat suitability assessment, landscape pattern, Lesser Xing’an Mountains