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Iterative distribution modeling for two endemic plants of the northern Piceance basin




Smith, Gabrielle, author
Handwerk, Jill, author
Fink, Michelle, author
Decker, Karin, author
Colorado Natural Heritage Program, publisher

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Species distribution modeling is one of many tools available to assist managers in understanding the potential distribution of rare and endemic species when regulating and prioritizing different land-use scenarios. Developing a predictive model of the distribution of a particular species can involve several different techniques, and be reported under a variety of names. All such models, however, are based on the ecological principle that the presence of a species on the landscape is controlled by a variety of biotic and abiotic factors, in the context of biogeographic and evolutionary history. Because we rarely, if ever, have complete and accurate knowledge of these factors and history, we can only seek to predict or discover suitable habitat by using characteristics of known occurrences of the taxon in question. The modeling process is further constrained by our inability to measure habitat characteristics accurately on a continuous spatial scale. As a result, modeling factors are usually an approximation of the environmental factors that control species distribution, using available data that is probably only a surrogate for the actual controlling factors. In the context of our study, species distribution modeling is a process that uses a sample of a real distribution (known locations or element occurrences) to build a model (estimate) of suitable environmental conditions (and, by implication, unsuitable conditions), and map that model across a study area. In this study we used an iterative modeling approach to investigate the potential distribution of two rare species: Physaria (Lesquerella) congesta and Physaria obcordata.


April 2013.
Prerpared for: U.S. Fish and Wildlfie Service.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 16-17).

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Physaria (Lesquerella) congesta
Physaria obcordata
Piceance Creek Basin


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