While the giant panda's overall genetic diversity is encouraging, the researchers also found evidence that the Qinling panda population (which is across the valley from the other two) is genetically isolated. The results suggest that this isolation occurred within the last few thousand years, which coincides with the valley's settlement by Chinese people. Fortunately, despite the Qinling population's genetic isolation, there does not yet appear to be significant inbreeding.
Part of the key to saving giant pandas in the wild is restoring gene flow among populations. Lu, O'Brien and their colleagues recommend maintaining and reestablishing natural corridors between populations. This effort could be incorporated into the national forest conservation program (which includes a logging ban and ecological restoration) that the government launched in 1998.