Get access

Species Distribution Modeling



The use of species distribution models (SDM) to map and monitor animal and plant distributions has become increasingly important in the context of awareness of environmental change and its ecological consequences. From their original inception as resource inventory and conservation mapping tools, SDM have evolved along with the increasing variety and availability of statistical methods, digital biological, and environmental data with which they are built in a geographic information system. Beyond predicting species distributions, these models have become an important and widely used decision-making tool for a variety of biogeographical applications, such as studying the effects of climate change, identifying potential protected areas, determining locations potentially susceptible to invasion, and mapping vector-borne disease spread and risk. This article outlines the steps involved in formulating an SDM and focuses on the conceptual and theoretical foundations on which it is based and identifies issues that have merited recent and will merit future research attention.