Modeling species' distributions to improve conservation in semiurban landscapes: Koala case study

Rhodes, Jonathan R., Wiegand, Thorsten, McAlpine, Clive A., Callaghan, John, Lunney, Daniel, Bowen, Michiala and Possingham, Hugh P. (2006) Modeling species' distributions to improve conservation in semiurban landscapes: Koala case study. Conservation Biology, 20 2: 449-459. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00330.x

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Author Rhodes, Jonathan R.
Wiegand, Thorsten
McAlpine, Clive A.
Callaghan, John
Lunney, Daniel
Bowen, Michiala
Possingham, Hugh P.
Title Modeling species' distributions to improve conservation in semiurban landscapes: Koala case study
Journal name Conservation Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0888-8892
Publication date 2006-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00330.x
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 20
Issue 2
Start page 449
End page 459
Total pages 11
Editor G. K. Meffe
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject 270708 Conservation and Biodiversity
270700 Ecology and Evolution
270000 Biological Sciences
270704 Landscape Ecology
770703 Living resources (flora and fauna)
0502 Environmental Science and Management
Abstract Models of species' distributions are commonly used to inform landscape and conservation planning. In urban and semiurban landscapes, the distributions of species are determined by a combination of natural habitat and anthropogenic impacts. Understanding the spatial influence of these two processes is crucial for making spatially explicit decisions about conservation actions. We present a logistic regression model for the distribution of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in a semiurban landscape in eastern Australia that explicitly separates the effect of natural habitat quality and anthropogenic impacts on koala distributions. We achieved this by comparing the predicted distributions from the model with what the predicted distributions would have been if anthropogenic variables were at their mean values. Similar approaches have relied on making predictions assuming anthropogenic variables are zero, which will be unreliable if the training data set does not include anthropogenic variables close to zero. Our approach is novel because it can be applied to landscapes where anthropogenic variables are never close to zero. Our model showed that, averaged across the study area, natural habitat was the main determinant of koala presence. At a local scale, however, anthropogenic impacts could be more important, with consequent implications for conservation planning. We demonstrated that this modeling approach, combined with the visual presentation of predictions as a map, provides important information for making decisions on how different conservation actions should be spatially allocated. This method is particularly useful for areas where wildlife and human populations exist in close proximity.
Keyword anthropogenic impacts
conservation planning
logistic regression
mixed effects model
natural habitat quality
spatial distribution model
Q-Index Code C1
Additional Notes This is an electronic version of an article published as Rhodes, Jonathan R and Wiegand, Thorsten and McAlpine, Clive A and John, Callaghan and Lunney, Daniel and Bowen, Michiala and Possingham, Hugh P (2006) Modeling Species' Distributions to Improve Conservation in Semiurban Landscapes: Koala Case Study Conservation Biology 20 (2) : 449-459. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00330.x Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing. All rights reserved. -- Published Online: 24 Feb 2006

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Created: Mon, 27 Mar 2006, 10:00:00 EST by Jonathan Rhodes on behalf of School of Biological Sciences