International partnership to restore giant panda habitats

A giant panda high up a treeThe giant panda is one of the world’s most endangered species and efforts to restore its natural habitat are at the heart of conservation plans. At a time when two of Edinburgh’s most famous inhabitants are giant pandas from China, Forest Research is building international links with Chinese counterparts to help conserve the species in the wild.

Chief Executive James Pendlebury and ecologist Mike Smith recently visited partners in Sichuan province in western China to set up a framework for future collaborative research on forest landscape restoration. Forest Research’s experience and expertise in forest landscape restoration complements the conservation knowledge and skill of the partner organisations, which include:

  • Royal Zoological Society Scotland
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Forestry Department of Sichuan Provence
  • Sichuan Giant Panda Conservation Foundation
  • Sichuan Wildlife Management Station.

During the visit, the group discussed how by strengthening international links and sharing expertise we would all benefit in finding new ways to improve our capacity to restore and maintain important forest landscapes. This would in turn aid the conservation of the giant panda in China.

Also discussed with Chinese colleagues was whether the lessons being learned from the conservation of iconic species like the giant panda and rhododendron could be used to help restore Chinese and Scottish forest landscapes for a wide range of other species.

The framework for future research and collaboration will be further developed during a workshop in April 2015.