Investigator:

Xuemei Han

Advisor: Chad Oliver

Description:

Amur tiger inhabits the deciduous-conifer mixed forests in northeastern China and Russian Far East. It has encountered a serious shrinking of its range and a population decline during the past century and hence become critically endangered (Matyushkin et al. 1996, Nowell et al. 1996). Three hypotheses are proposed to explain this unfortunate process:
  i) deforestation causing the inadequate size of forest areas to maintain Amur tiger's population;
  ii) Korean pine species is a critical factor of Amur tiger's habitat. Over cutting this species accounts for Amur tiger's population declining;
  iii) the forest is in wrong development stage with unsuitable forest structures to maintain Amur tiger's habitat.

Recent studies reveal that forest structure changes as forests grow and are impacted by disturbance(Oliver and Larson 1996). The different forest structures (i.e. savanna, open, close, understory, and complex structure) maintain different species.

In this study, I propose to reconsider the causes of the declingin Amur tiger population and to examine the current habitat suitability for Amur tigers from a dynamic forest perspective. Specifically, the objectives of this study are to:
  i) determine if the lack of forest ahbitat is an important limiting factor in the abundance of the Amur tiger
  ii) determine if the current forest structure is suitable for Amur tiger
  iii) evaluate how the tiger habitat will fluctuate over time and suggest a sustainable forest management straegy in Northeast China.