Affordable Access

An evaluation of the predictive performance of distributional models for flora and fauna in north-east New South Wales.

Authors
  • Pearce, J
  • Ferrier, S
  • Scotts, D
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of environmental management
Publisher
Elsevier BV
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2001
Volume
62
Issue
2
Pages
171–184
Identifiers
PMID: 11434030
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

To use models of species distributions effectively in conservation planning, it is important to determine the predictive accuracy of such models. Extensive modelling of the distribution of vascular plant and vertebrate fauna species within north-east New South Wales has been undertaken by linking field survey data to environmental and geographical predictors using logistic regression. These models have been used in the development of a comprehensive and adequate reserve system within the region. We evaluate the predictive accuracy of models for 153 small reptile, arboreal marsupial, diurnal bird and vascular plant species for which independent evaluation data were available. The predictive performance of each model was evaluated using the relative operating characteristic curve to measure discrimination capacity. Good discrimination ability implies that a model's predictions provide an acceptable index of species occurrence. The discrimination capacity of 89% of the models was significantly better than random, with 70% of the models providing high levels of discrimination. Predictions generated by this type of modelling therefore provide a reasonably sound basis for regional conservation planning. The discrimination ability of models was highest for the less mobile biological groups, particularly the vascular plants and small reptiles. In the case of diurnal birds, poor performing models tended to be for species which occur mainly within specific habitats not well sampled by either the model development or evaluation data, highly mobile species, species that are locally nomadic or those that display very broad habitat requirements. Particular care needs to be exercised when employing models for these types of species in conservation planning.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times