Utility of habitat suitability models as biodiversity assessment tools in forest management

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This study addresses questions pertaining to the effective use of habitat suitability models as tools for biodiversity assessment in forest management. Specifically, it discusses, in relation to recent literature, how habitat suitability models could be made more accountable for the multidimensionality of the biodiversity concept, means to generalizing single-species models and addressing population viability, and how to integrate habitat suitability models and forest management planning. Single-species models dominate in the literature, but working with many species, e.g. the focal species concept, provides a feasible option to broaden the conceptual scope of habitat suitability models as tools for biodiversity assessment. The advent of spatially explicit models scaled to the ecologies of species has made habitat suitability models better able to deal with habitat quality and to identify and quantify functional habitat at different spatial scales. The output of habitat suitability models as spatial templates for the simulation of population dynamics is increasingly used to address population viability. Linking species' habitat requirements with landscape projection models and scenario analysis is the important next step to take in order to make habitat suitability models more efficient as planning tools in forest management.

Keywords: Habitat; forest; literature; management; model; species; suitability

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14004080500486989

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden 2: Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Department of Conservation Biology, SLU, Riddarhyttan, Sweden

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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