Integrating Gap Analysis and Corridor Design with Less Used Species Distribution Models to Improve Conservation Network for Two Rare Mammal Species (Gazella bennettii and Vulpes cana) in Central Iran
Contemporary Problems of Ecology
Abstract: The dramatic rise of human population growth and urban development, especially in developing countries, has led to a decline in the quality, fragmentation and isolation of habitats which support rare or endangered fauna species. New areas designed to protect such species and form corridors and networks to support populations are needed. Two rare species of Chinkara and Blanford’s fox habitats in Isfahan Province are used to evaluate the optimal method to determine suitable habitat. Eight statistical methods, including four widely-used methods (SVM, Random Forest, GBM and MARS) and five new methods (XGBtree, XGBLinear, Treebag and SVMRadial) are evaluated in this study; to do so two Modis products and 19 worldclim parameters are applied. In addition, the ensemble of these methods was applied using gap analysis and areas with potential for protection were prioritized. Finally, minimum cost analysis was utilized to identify possible corridors between new areas and current protected areas. Results demonstrate that the eastern parts of Isfahan province have the highest potential for these two species, and because of the diverse habitats demands for these two species, the regions are able to support a large number of fauna and flora species.
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