A global map of terrestrial habitat types

Martin Jung, Prabhat Raj Dahal, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Paul F. Donald, Xavier De Lamo, Myroslava Lesiv, Valerie Kapos, Carlo Rondinini & Piero Visconti 

We provide a global, spatially explicit characterization of 47 terrestrial habitat types, as defined in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) habitat classification scheme, which is widely used in ecological analyses, including for quantifying species’ Area of Habitat. We produced this novel habitat map for the year 2015 by creating a global decision tree that intersects the best currently available global data on land cover, climate and land use. We independently validated the map using occurrence data for 828 species of vertebrates (35152 point plus 8181 polygonal occurrences) and 6026 sampling sites. Across datasets and mapped classes we found on average a balanced accuracy of 0.77 (+¯+¯0.14 SD) at Level 1 and 0.71 (+¯+¯0.15 SD) at Level 2, while noting potential issues of using occurrence records for validation. The maps broaden our understanding of habitats globally, assist in constructing area of habitat refinements and are relevant for broad-scale ecological studies and future IUCN Red List assessments. Periodic updates are planned as better or more recent data becomes available.


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Prof. Hugh Possingham in Sapienza

On 13th of May, the Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy(TNC), Prof. Hugh Possingham gave a talk on “Novel Conservation science and economics that drives outcomes for The Nature Conservancy” at the Department of Biology and Biotechnologies in Sapienza University of Rome. Prof. Possingham kicked off the session by introducing TNC. He then highlighted the role of mathematics, economics and decision science in conservation. The students also got to know about the famous decision science software Marxan from the inventor himself. The talk then progressed towards some of the projects implemented by TNC. “Debt for nature swaps” was one of the fascinating projects implemented by TNC where a country’s debt was paid by TNC in exchange for commitments to protect nature. In another project called “Reverse Auction”, the farmers were actually given money to leave water in their farms during the winter for the birds. He also talked about the projects which harnessed the potential of geospatial and decision science tools for protecting nature. Development of conservation plan in Mongolia using Marxan, action maps for pollution were some of the examples of such projects. The talk was followed by a short and lively question/answer session.

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