The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a global conservation icon, but its habitat selection patterns are poorly understood. We synthesized previous studies on giant panda habitat selection. We confirmed that pandas generally selected forests with moderate to high bamboo densities, mid-elevations, both primary and secondary forests, and areas more distant from human activities. Pandas did not select steep slopes. We also highlighted the interactive effects among different habitat components, such as weaker selection for gentle slope and large patch size in disturbed secondary forests compared with primary forests. Pandas selected for land cover and disturbance at the level of the geographic range and selected for variables such as slope and bamboo density at the level of the home range. Furthermore, selection for higher bamboo cover did not change with bamboo availability, but selection against secondary forest declined as availability of this forest type increased. Our results have implications for the conservation of pandas, particularly the need for inclusion of areas previously seen as less suitable (e.g., moderate slopes and secondary forest) in protected area and habitat restoration planning.
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