Mapping habitat of threatened reptiles in Western Downs, Queensland: a spatial modelling approach using 'presence-only' occurrence data

Apan, Armando and Phinn, Stuart and McAlpine, Clive and Kath, Jarrod (2010) Mapping habitat of threatened reptiles in Western Downs, Queensland: a spatial modelling approach using 'presence-only' occurrence data. In: Queensland Surveying and Spatial Conference 2010 (QSSC 2010), 1-3 Sept 2010, Brisbane, Queensland.

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Biodiversity conservation planning requires spatial data. Information on the spatial distribution of wildlife species, as well as the location and extent of their habitat, is essential in developing conservation strategies. However, traditional ground-based survey and mapping methods cannot always deliver the necessary information in a timely and cost-effective fashion. For habitat mapping, the development of probabilistic modelling approaches offer some merits for the threatened reptiles in the Western Downs, Queensland, Australia. This study was conducted to identify the predictor variables significant in reptile habitat modelling, and to develop a spatially explicit predictive model for a group of reptiles. The predictor variables and 'presence-only' reptile occurrence data (representing seven threatened species of lizards and snakes) were examined using the weights-of-evidence (WofE) approach in a GIS platform. Of the 18 initial variables, seven of these were excluded from the modelling process due to their weak spatial association with reptile occurrences. These refer to topography-related variables (slope, aspect, topographic wetness index, and elevation) and ‘vegetation amount’ variables (foliage projective cover and NDVI). Conversely, land use, regional ecosystems type, evapotranspiration, land cover and major vegetation group variables exhibited strong spatial association with the observed reptile data. The results also show that the 4-map combination of 'regional ecosystems type' (RE), 'distance from water', 'soils', and 'distance from stream' produced the highest prediction accuracy (up to 87%). This study identified the regional ecosystems layer as the most significant variable, and it highlighted the importance of selected vegetation communities in the region. Since only 9% of the total area has high to moderate habitat preference for the reptiles, further vegetation clearing should be avoided to prevent new habitat loss. The weights-of-evidence approach was found highly suitable for predictive habitat mapping of threatened reptiles with 'presence-only' occurrence data.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Surveying and Land Information
Date Deposited: 01 Jan 2011 06:32
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: habitat mapping; spatial modelling; reptile; weights-of-evidence; Glenmorgan
Fields of Research : 06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
09 Engineering > 0909 Geomatic Engineering > 090999 Geomatic Engineering not elsewhere classified
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales

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