Sunday, 22 April 2018

Better species mapping can improve conservation efforts

Date:  April 18, 2018
Source:  Portland State University

The scientific models that ecologists and conservation biologists rely on to determine which species and habitats to protect lack critical information to help them make effective decisions, according to a new study.

Angela Strecker, an environmental science professor at Portland State University and the study's co-lead author, said that species distribution models can help predict all the places where a given species could live based on their environmental preferences, and using these models can help target conservation efforts to areas where they would have the most impact. They can also be useful in predicting where non-native or invasive species may spread.

"There's limited dollars and opportunities for conserving land and water, so we want to make sure we're getting the most bang for our buck," said Strecker, who co-led the study with a researcher from Bryn Mawr College. "To do that, we often need to rely on the results of these distribution models, but they're biased in terms of not fully representing all of the diversity that's out there and not including other factors that are important."

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