Abstracts on Global Climate Change

Apr 2004

Modeling species’ geographic distributions for preliminary conservation assessments: an implementation with the spiny pocket mice (Heteromys) of Ecuador

Anderson, RP Martinez-Meyer, E


GIS-based modeling of a species’ environmental requirements using known occurrence records can provide estimates of its distribution for conservation assessments when other data are lacking. We used collection records, environmental variables, maps of land cover and protected areas, and the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-Set Prediction (GARP) to estimate the historical, current, and protected ranges of the spiny pocket mice present in Ecuador (Heteromys australis and H. teleus). The results suggest that ca. 52-63% of the distributional areas of H. australis in the country are intact, but suitable habitat in protected areas represents only approximately 11-13% of the species’ historical range there. The distribution of H. teleus has been much more reduced, with only ca. 13-19% of its historical distribution still forested and an estimated 2-3% intact and falling in protected areas. Our work highlights critical areas for future fieldwork and demonstrates an integrated approach to estimating a species’ current distribution for preliminary conservation assessments. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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