Resilience of world heritage sites

The impacts of livestock on endangered species have been understudied, particularly across the livestock-wildlife interface in forested protected areas. A member of the Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV) Program investigated the impact of an emerging livestock sector in China's renowned Wolong Nature Reserve for giant pandas.

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RPV postdoctoral researcher, Wei Liu, joined an international research team looking at the impact of an emerging livestock sector in the Wolong Nature Reserve on giant pandas. The scientists used collar tracking, among other things, to analyze the spatial distribution of horses in giant panda habitat at Wolong, in particular the impact of horses on pandas and bamboo which is the panda’s main food source. It was found that pandas and horses compete with each other for food, which may have contributed to a decline in panda habitat use, an emerging threat to the endangered giant panda [1].  

Besides this study, Liu, whose research topics at IIASA include spatiotemporal dynamics of ecosystem service trade-off and synergy, multi-scale disaster resilience in complex socio-ecological systems, and integrated assessment of conservation policies, is also conducting a number of other scientific research and stakeholder activities to help diagnose resilience and reduce disaster risk in the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuary World Heritage. He designed and organized two UNESCO workshops on Disaster and Climate Risks and World Heritage Management in China. This is the first of its kind within UNESCO’s World Heritage Programme, which in the past has focused more on conservation and less on development issues.


[1] Hull V, Zhang J, Zhou S, Huang J, Vina A, Liu W Tuanmu M, Li R, Liu D, Xu W, Huang Y, Ouyang Z, Zhang H, Liu J (2014). Impact of Livestock on Giant Pandas and their Habitat. Journal for Nature Conservation.

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Last edited: 02 April 2015


Wei Liu

Guest Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

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Natural disaster and social-ecological transitions

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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