By the same authors

From the same journal

From the same journal

Incorporating uncertainty in predictive species distribution modelling

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

Published copy (DOI)

Author(s)

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalPhilosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society Of London Series B - Biological Sciences
DatePublished - 19 Jan 2012
Issue number1586
Volume367
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)247-258
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Motivated by the need to solve ecological problems (climate change, habitat fragmentation and biological invasions), there has been increasing interest in species distribution models (SDMs). Predictions from these models inform conservation policy, invasive species management and disease-control measures. However, predictions are subject to uncertainty, the degree and source of which is often unrecognized. Here, we review the SDM literature in the context of uncertainty, focusing on three main classes of SDM: niche-based models, demographic models and process-based models. We identify sources of uncertainty for each class and discuss how uncertainty can be minimized or included in the modelling process to give realistic measures of confidence around predictions. Because this has typically not been performed, we conclude that uncertainty in SDMs has often been underestimated and a false precision assigned to predictions of geographical distribution. We identify areas where development of new statistical tools will improve predictions from distribution models, notably the development of hierarchical models that link different types of distribution model and their attendant uncertainties across spatial scales. Finally, we discuss the need to develop more defensible methods for assessing predictive performance, quantifying model goodness-of-fit and for assessing the significance of model covariates.

Discover related content

Find related publications, people, projects, datasets and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations