Potential solar radiation pattern in relation to the monthly distribution of giant pandas in Foping Nature Reserve, China

Xuehua Liu*, Xiangnan Cheng, Andrew K. Skidmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Solar radiation is an important parameter in ecological process modeling, hydrological modeling and bio-physical modeling. However, models focusing on solar radiation in relation to giant panda habitat and seasonal distribution are limited. The research aims to form spatial models of 12 month solar radiation patterns and to investigate the relation between the solar radiation patterns and the monthly distribution patterns of giant pandas. The solar radiation model of Kumar et al. was adopted for this study in Foping Nature Reserve (NR), China. By comparing twelve monthly solar radiation patterns and calculating statistics such as maximum, minimum, mean and standard deviation of the solar radiation, diversified solar radiation patterns over different months were obtained. Maximum solar radiation occurred in June and July, while minimum solar radiation occurred in December and January. The annual sum of solar radiation was 6954MJ/m2 in Foping NR. The range in solar radiation was smaller in hot months and larger in cold months. Radio tracking data of giant pandas were collected for twelve months and the ensuing maps were overlaid with the twelve-month solar radiation map to analyze the relation between the giant panda's monthly distribution and solar radiation. Our results showed that giant pandas prefer areas with lower solar radiation in warm months and select areas with higher solar radiation in cold months, which illustrates that the distribution of giant pandas is indeed affected by solar radiation. To a certain degree, it also explains the behavior of seasonal movement by giant pandas in Foping NR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-652
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Solar radiation
  • Foping Nature Reserve
  • Qinling Mountains
  • Movement distribution
  • Giant pandas
  • Geographical information system (GIS)


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