APPLICATIONS OF SPECIES DISTRIBUTION MODELLING TO CONSERVATION OF REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS IN NEVADA, USA.
|Eric T Simandle; US Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center; email@example.com; Todd C. Esque, Jason L Jones, Kenneth E. Nussear|
Wildlife conservation must be supported by the best scientific evidence to be successful. Fine-scale data on where animals exist on the landscape, and the suite of environmental variables that characterize those locations, are critical for wildlife management decisions. We include data from citizen science efforts (e.g., bioblitzes) to increase sampling effectiveness at the local or regional scale. We have developed species distribution models (SDMs) for all reptiles and amphibians known to occur in the State of Nevada, USA. We demonstrate how these SDMs can be applied, with citizen-science, to quantify habitat suitability and inform future sampling strategies for target species, species diversity, or for determining the adequacy of protected areas. We describe an iterative process, where increased field sampling informs the creation of new SDMs that would further refine our understanding of the habitat requirements of species. We demonstrate the application of our models for habitat suitability analyses, for use in informing State Wildlife Action Plans, determining Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas, and the designation of critical habitat of threatened and endangered species. Our SDMs and related analyses form the backbone of our new approach to field guides, where habitat suitability across a species geographic range is quantified.