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The development and delivery of species distribution models to inform decision-making

June 5, 2019

Information on where species occur is central to conservation and management decisions, but knowledge of distributions can be coarse or incomplete. Species distribution models provide a tool for mapping suitable habitat, and can produce credible, defensible, and repeatable predictive information with which to inform decisions. However, these models are sensitive to data inputs and methodological choices, making it important to assess the reliability and utility of model predictions. We provide a rubric that model developers can use to communicate a model’s attributes and its appropriate uses. We emphasize the importance of tailoring model development and delivery to the species of interest and the intended use, and the advantages of iterative modeling and validation. We highlight how species distribution models have been used to design surveys for new populations, prioritize actions across space, and support regulatory decision-making and compliance, tying these examples back to our rubric.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title The development and delivery of species distribution models to inform decision-making
DOI 10.1093/biosci/biz045
Authors Helen Sofaer, Catherine S. Jarnevich, Ian Pearse, Regan L Smyth, Stephanie Auer, Cook Gericke L, Thomas C. Edwards, Gerald F. Guala, Timothy G Howard, Jeffrey T Morisette, Healy Hamilton
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title BioScience
Series Number
Index ID 70205957
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center