Mapping of species distributions at large spatial scales has been often based on the representation of gathered observations in a general grid atlas framework. More recently, subsampling and subsequent interpolation or habitat spatial modelling techniques have been incorporated in these projects to allow more detailed species mapping. Here, we explore the usefulness of data from long-term monitoring (LTM) projects, primarily aimed at estimating trends in species abundance and collected at shorter time intervals (usually yearly) than atlas data, to develop predictive habitat models. We modelled habitat occupancy for 99 species using a bird LTM program and evaluated the predictive accuracy of these models using independent data from a contemporary and comprehensive breeding bird atlas project from the same region. Habitat models from LTM data using generalized linear modelling were significant for all the species and generally showed a high predictive power, albeit lower than that from atlas models. Sample size and species range size and niche breadth were the most important factors behind variability in model predictive accuracy, whereas the spatial distribution of sampling units at a given sample size had minor effects. Although predictive accuracy of habitat modelling was strongly species dependent, increases in sample size and, secondarily, a better spatial distribution of sampling units should lead to more powerful predictive distribution models. We suggest that data from LTM programs, now established in a large number of countries, has the potential for being a major source of good quality data suitable for the estimation and regularly update of distributions at large spatial scales for a number of species.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.