San Diego State University researchers will lead a study of one of China's national treasures and endangered species: The Guizhou snub-nosed monkey, often called the golden monkey.
As part of a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, student researchers from SDSU's departments of geography, biology and educational technology will travel this month to the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, home to the monkey known for its golden fur, to examine the effect of payments for ecosystem services.
SDSU researchers and colleagues from the University of North Carolina will study the practice of offering incentives to landholders in exchange for managing and maintaining their land and the effect it has on the conservation efforts of the golden monkey reserve.
Payments for ecosystem services have been in practice for several decades, but little is known about what environmental and socio-demographic changes they may have initiated and whether such changes will be sustainable in the future.
A passion for protecting
Li An, SDSU geography professor and the project's principal investigator, is a Chinese native and has long been intrigued with his country's endangered species.
This will be one of his many ventures into the Fanjingshan reserve to study these mysterious creatures, their habitat and the local indigenous people.
"In China, the endangered golden monkey is a symbol for conservation and the environment," An said. "If we learn more about the effectiveness of ecosystem payments, we can better understand what it takes to sustain environments, local people's livelihoods and endangered species such as these."
The project will use several components, including satellite imagery and cameras, to monitor the monkeys' movements and interactions. Interviews and surveys of local Chinese people will help the researchers understand the community's interactions with the monkeys.
|Contact: Natalia Van Stralen|
San Diego State University