PROTECTING PANDAS—AND THE PLANET
In the mountains of the Sichuan Province of southwestern China, the Wolong National Nature Reserve is home to both the endangered peaceful mountain dwellers it is mandated to protect and the residents of the valley where the habitat of the giant panda is being restored. It’s also home base for research that holds important insights into the future of pandas and people.
Jack Liu, University Distinguished Professor of fisheries and wildlife, has been conducting research over the past 17 years, creating a framework for studying ecological sustainability and how deeply entwined the human and natural worlds are. One example: the fate of pandas is in a precarious state as climate change models predict large swaths of bamboo will become unavailable as a result of human development.
Understanding changes to panda habitat is an important way for science to inform policies that can reduce and reverse negative impacts caused by humans. With the right policies in place, human lifestyle and behavior can help instead of hurt pandas—and the planet.