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Moving beyond static species distribution models in support of conservation biogeography

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Abstract Aim 

To demonstrate that multi-modelling methods have effectively been used to combine static species distribution models (SDM), predicting the geographical pattern of suitable habitat, with dynamic landscape and population models to forecast the impacts of environmental change on species’ status, an important goal of conservation biogeography. Methods 

Three approaches were considered: (1) incorporating models of species migration to understand the ability of a species to occupy suitable habitat in new locations; (2) linking models of landscape disturbance and succession to models of habitat suitability; and (3) fully linking models of habitat suitability, habitat dynamics and spatially explicit population dynamics. Results 

Linking species–environment relationships, landscape dynamics and population dynamics in a multi-modelling framework allows the combined impacts of climate change (affecting species distribution and vital rates) and land cover dynamics (land use change, altered disturbance regimes) on species to be predicted. This approach is only feasible if the life history parameters and habitat requirements of the species are well understood. Main conclusions 

Forecasts of the impacts of global change on species may be improved by considering multiple causes. A range of methods are available to address the interactions of changing habitat suitability, habitat dynamics and population response that vary in their complexity, realism and data requirements.
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Keywords: Climate change; disturbance; landscape dynamics; metapopulation model; species distribution model; species migration

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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