Protecting the forests of the Daliang Shan region in Sichuan - China

Daliang Shan in Sichuan has been identified as part of one of the 25 'biodiversity hotspots' in the world, and is an important area for Galliformes.

The logging plans for the Daliang Shan region predicted the disappearance within two decades of virtually all of the primary forest habitat of the Sichuan hill-partridge, and extinction seemed inevitable. At this time, WPA and the Sichuan Forestry Department were already in the field, ascertaining the best areas for the partridge. Soon after in 1998, catastrophic flooding of the lower Yangtze River led the Chinese Government to introduce a logging ban in the upper Yangtze basin, including the Daliang Shan region. This natural disaster opened a door for the long-term conservation of the Sichuan hill-partridge and its habitat

Nature Reserves

In 2001 the first nature reserve exclusively covering broadleaf primary forest in the Daliang Shan region was established at Laojunshan to protect the habitat of the Sichuan hill-partridge. With long-term financial and technical support for Chester Zoo, two further reserves have been established at Mamize and Heizhugou. Chester Zoo continues to provide funds and supports the reserves through the Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project in partnership with Sichuan Forestry Department and Liverpool John Moores University.

Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project

The success of the Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project is down to the work of local people in and around the reserves. A number of community projects have been set up in the reserves and benefits are provided for local people linked to wildlife protection. This is particularly apparent at Mamize, where the working relationship between the reserve managers and local people is excellent.

Community projects include:

  • improving the breeding stock of local cattle to improve yields, and an agreement to only graze cattle in designated areas.
  • a clean water supply was provided for a new reserve centre and included pipes to the local village and school.
  • villagers assist with duties such as helping to police and control bamboo shoot collection in the reserve.

The results have been a reduction in poaching, less disturbance during the partridge's breeding season, and habitat expansion as previously logged areas are replanted.

Galliforme Monitoring Project

Project commenced: 2005

Partners: Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Sichuan University and Sichuan Forestry Department.

The project is helping to evaluate the effectiveness of reserve support and ensure that future measures provide suitable protection. WPA is using Galliformes as an indicator species for the reserves, to assess habitat quality and guide future management. There are signs that Sichuan hill-partridge have already increased at Laojunshan.

Key species

Sichuan hill-partridge Arborophila rufipectus
Lady Amherst's pheasant Chrysolophus amherstiae
Temminck's tragopan Tragopan temminckii
Chinese bamboo-partridge Bambusicda thoracicus
Silver pheasant Lophura nycthemera