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Species Habitat Suitiability Change Models

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Summary

We built habitat suitability models for 237 bird, 117 mammal, and 12 amphibian species. Species were chosen for inclusion in the study based on a simple set of criteria. For a species to be included in the study, it had to be primarily associated with terrestrial habitats, have a digital map of its current range, and have some portion of its current distribution intersect with the study area extent. In addition, we restricted the list of species used in the study to those for which a well-performing continental-scale model could be built. Digital species range maps were converted from polygons into 50 square kilometer resolution grid cells representing species presences. Although using point-based occurrence data to represent species [...]

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SppModel_metadata_20140107_converted_arc_to_fgdc.xml
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Purpose

The ranges of many species are expected to shift in response to changes in climate. Anticipating these shifts can inform ongoing conservation planning and natural resource management. However, developing robust predictions for large geographic areas can be challenging, in part due to insufficient sampling data and computational limits associated with modeling large extents at a fine-grained spatial resolution. To overcome these challenges, we developed a method to model habitat suitability by building correlative climate suitability models for 366 terrestrial animal species at a relatively coarse spatial resolution for the entire North American continent using species range maps and 23 bioclimatic variables. We then applied the models to both current and projected future climate data downscaled to a moderately fine resolution for western North America. We refined the resulting climate suitability projections by combining them with projected climate-driven changes in biomes to define areas that will likely be suitable for species in the future.

Communities

  • LC MAP - Landscape Conservation Management and Analysis Portal
  • North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative

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