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Keywords:

  • Commission;
  • distribution equilibrium;
  • model evaluation;
  • omission;
  • over-prediction;
  • prediction error;
  • predictive performance;
  • under-prediction

Abstract

Models based on species distributions are widely used and serve important purposes in ecology, biogeography and conservation. Their continuous predictions of environmental suitability are commonly converted into a binary classification of predicted (or potential) presences and absences, whose accuracy is then evaluated through a number of measures that have been the subject of recent reviews. We propose four additional measures that analyse observation-prediction mismatch from a different angle – namely, from the perspective of the predicted rather than the observed area – and add to the existing toolset of model evaluation methods. We explain how these measures can complete the view provided by the existing measures, allowing further insights into distribution model predictions. We also describe how they can be particularly useful when using models to forecast the spread of diseases or of invasive species and to predict modifications in species’ distributions under climate and land-use change.