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Keywords:

  • disturbance;
  • indicator species;
  • natural history records;
  • terrain characteristics

Abstract

Natural history collections, such as specimen records, are crucial resources for conservation and habitat management. However, these data are usually scarce compared to physical environmental data (e.g., digital terrain maps) that we often have little species data and a lot of physical environmental data with which to evaluate habitats. In this paper, we propose a method for evaluating habitat stability using scarce natural history records and abundant physical environmental data. We used both historical and contemporary specimen records of carabid beetles (areas in which records of the same species were recorded during both periods) and evaluated the attributes of these areas using terrain characteristics. We found two common terrain characteristics among the occupied areas: large total river length and low variation in elevation. These terrain characteristics suggest that habitats of carabid species have been conserved in disturbed and wet environments for a long time. These results are consistent with the ecological characteristics of carabid beetles. Our study shows that scarce natural history collections, combined with ingenuity, can be useful for evaluating habitats.