Connectivity Index-Based Identification of Priority Area of River Protected Areas in Sichuan Province, Southwest China

Min Zhao, Chenyang Li, Denielle M. Perry, Yuxiao Zhang, Yuwen He, Peng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identification of the priority area is of great significance for the rational layout of river protected areas (RPAs), and it also poses new challenges for protected areas’ (PAs) construction. This study started with the characteristics of RPAs and chose China’s Sichuan Province as the case for the present study, based on its characteristics of biodiversity conservation value and other characteristic elements. The study selected the river dendritic connectivity index and the other four indicators adding them according to different weights to calculate the comprehensive protected value (CPV) area. Finally, the existing PA distributions within the CPV were compared, and the priority conservation area was identified. The main conclusions are as follows: the total area of high-value areas is about 175,068 km2, accounting for 36.02% of the province and concentrated in the high mountain plateaus of the northwest and the southwest mountain region; the existing PAs are 131,687 km2 in sized, covering only 25.08% of the high-value areas of CPV. In other words, 74.92% of the high-value areas still have not been effectively protected, and the construction of RPAs is relatively lagging in these areas; the total area of priority conservation areas (PCAs) is 131,162 km2, accounting for about 26.99% of the province. The total length of the reach in the PCAs is about 9190.72 km, which is approximately 26.84% of the length of the province’s alternative reaches. The research can provide a scientific basis for the optimization and integration of nature protected areas and land space planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number490
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • connectivity index (CI)
  • ecosystem approach
  • priority conservation area (PCA)
  • priority conservation reach (PCR)
  • river protected area (RPA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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