Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research

A special issue of ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information (ISSN 2220-9964).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 36135

Special Issue Editors

Spatial Biology Lab, CICGE - Research Center for Geo-Space Science, University of Porto, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
Interests: spatial distribution patterns; spatial ecology; biogeography; conservation biology; GIS; remote sensing; ecological niche models; spatial statistics
Area of Ecology, Department of Botany, Ecology and Plant Physiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cordoba, Campus de Rabanales, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
Interests: biodiversity monitoring; earth observation; ecological niche modelling; ecosystem functioning; plant ecology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Geographical information systems (GIS) are indispensable tools of spatial analysis. In particular, the study of biodiversity has a strong spatial component. We propose here a Special Volume of ISPRSInternational Journal of Geo-Information on Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research. GIS, together with spatial statistics, are essential for analysing spatial patterns of biodiversity, from genes to individuals, species and communities. GIS are the best tool to collect, store, manage and map distribution data, basal to any type of spatial analyses. Thus, distribution atlases are now completely performed with GIS, namely by web GIS applications. With atlas data, we can determine species chorotypes and biogeographical areas. Ecological niche modelling (ENMs) is probably the most used analytical spatial tool to analyse the factors driving the species ranges. With ENMs, we can model species richness, range shifts and species dispersions, species invasions, hybrid zones, and help to analyse the phylogeography and systematics of species. GIS have made it possible to analyse landscape connectivity, the spatial structure of communities, and species home ranges. However, GIS are also essential in conserving biodiversity: GIS algorithms are able to find the most efficient network of protected areas. GIS can analyse and model factors threatening biodiversity, such as habitat loss by urbanisation and road-kills. We invite all researchers to submit their works applying GIS in Biodiversity research.

Dr. Neftali Sillero
Dr. Salvador Arenas-Castro
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • GIS
  • spatial statistics
  • ecological niche models
  • remote sensing
  • biogeography
  • phylogeography
  • spatial ecology
  • conservation
  • protected areas
  • species distributions

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 8122 KiB  
Article
Identification and Mapping of High Nature Value Farmland in the Yellow River Delta Using Landsat-8 Multispectral Data
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2022, 11(12), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11120604 - 04 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1286
Abstract
The development of high nature value farmland (HNVf) can effectively improve the problems of biodiversity reduction, non-point source pollution and carbon loss in intensive farmland. To this end, we developed a set of general indicators based on Landsat 8 OLI imagery, including land [...] Read more.
The development of high nature value farmland (HNVf) can effectively improve the problems of biodiversity reduction, non-point source pollution and carbon loss in intensive farmland. To this end, we developed a set of general indicators based on Landsat 8 OLI imagery, including land cover (LC), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), Shannon diversity (SH) and Simpson’s index (SI). Combined with a Kohonen neural network (KNN), we assigned weights and developed the first potential HNVf map of the Yellow River Delta in China. The results showed that the four indicators were very effective for the expression of HNVf characteristics in the study area, and that SH and SI, in particular, could reflect the potential characteristics of HNVf at the edge of intensive farmland. LC, NDVI, SH and SI were weighted as 0.45, 0.25, 0.15 and 0.15, respectively. It was found that the potential HNVf type 2 (i.e., low-intensity agriculture, and natural and structural elements such as shrubs, woodlands and small rivers) in the study area was concentrated at the edges of intensive farmland, the transition zones from farmland to rivers and the estuary wetland areas of northern and eastern rivers. LC played a leading role in identifying HNVf. Based on six randomly selected real-world verification data from Map World, it was found that the accuracy of the validation set for HNVf type 2 was 83.33%, which exhibited the good development potential of HNVf in the study area. This is the first potential HNVf type 2 map of the Yellow River Delta in China and could provide a great deal of potential guidance for the development and protection of farmland biodiversity and regional carbon sequestration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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15 pages, 5070 KiB  
Article
Potential Ecological Distributions of Urban Adapters and Urban Exploiters for the Sustainability of the Urban Bird Network
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2022, 11(9), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11090474 - 31 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2345
Abstract
The bird community in urban areas indicates the species-specific adaptability to urban conditions such as the increase in man-made habitats. Urban adapters and urban exploiters, two groups that make up most of the urban birds, were assessed to determine their suitable habitat and [...] Read more.
The bird community in urban areas indicates the species-specific adaptability to urban conditions such as the increase in man-made habitats. Urban adapters and urban exploiters, two groups that make up most of the urban birds, were assessed to determine their suitable habitat and explain their distribution, as well as to determine the environmental predictors for the two bird groups assemblages in Depok, one of Jakarta’s satellite cities. We used the point-count method to survey the birds in three habitat types, green spaces, residentials, and roadside, and then we used Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) to analyze the species distribution modeling. We also the predicted habitat distributions for the urban adapters and urban exploiters based on several environmental predictors. Our results suggest that both urban adapters and urban exploiters were abundant in residential areas. Eurasian tree sparrows (Passer montanus) and cave swiflets (Collocalia linchi) were the most common species in all three habitat types. On average, canopy cover was most extensive in green spaces followed by residential and roadside areas. Urban exploiters were likely to have a high suitability extent compared to urban adapters. The distributions of both groups were affected by the distance to perennial water, then by land function for the urban adapters, and distance to patches for the urban exploiters. The presence of urban adapters and urban exploiters in residential areas suggests that home gardens supported critical habitats when green spaces were unavailable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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17 pages, 4268 KiB  
Article
Landscape Ecological Risk and Ecological Security Pattern Construction in World Natural Heritage Sites: A Case Study of Bayinbuluke, Xinjiang, China
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2022, 11(6), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11060328 - 30 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2200
Abstract
The evaluation of ecological risk and the construction of ecological security patterns are significant for the conservation of World Natural Heritage sites with high outstanding universal value. This paper constructed a landscape ecological risk evaluation framework for Bayinbuluke using the three aspects of [...] Read more.
The evaluation of ecological risk and the construction of ecological security patterns are significant for the conservation of World Natural Heritage sites with high outstanding universal value. This paper constructed a landscape ecological risk evaluation framework for Bayinbuluke using the three aspects of the “nature–society–landscape pattern” and a cumulative resistance surface from the risk evaluation results. The ecological sources were identified based on Morphological Spatial Pattern Analysis (MSPA) and the landscape index. Finally, the Minimum Cumulative Resistance model (MCR) and gravity model were used to obtain both key ecological corridors and general ecological corridors. The results showed that: (1) the influencing factors of landscape ecological risk were, in order of strongest to weakest, landscape pattern factors, natural factors, and social factors; (2) the spatial differences in terms of landscape ecological risk within the study area could be identified. Low-risk areas were mainly concentrated in the core area, high-risk areas were mainly in the outer buffer zone, and the overall ecological risk level at Bayinbuluke was high; and (3) a total of four key corridors and ten general corridors could be constructed. This study provides a reference for decision-making on the ecological security and protection of heritage sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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13 pages, 3275 KiB  
Article
A Spatial Approach for Modeling Amphibian Road-Kills: Comparison of Regression Techniques
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(5), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10050343 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 2789
Abstract
Road networks are the main source of mortality for many species. Amphibians, which are in global decline, are the most road-killed fauna group, due to their activity patterns and preferred habitats. Many different methodologies have been applied in modeling the relationship between environment [...] Read more.
Road networks are the main source of mortality for many species. Amphibians, which are in global decline, are the most road-killed fauna group, due to their activity patterns and preferred habitats. Many different methodologies have been applied in modeling the relationship between environment and road-kills events, such as logistic regression. Here, we compared the performance of five regression techniques to relate amphibians’ road-kill frequency to environmental variables. For this, we surveyed three country roads in northern Portugal in search of road-killed amphibians. To explain the presence of road-kills, we selected a set of environmental variables important for the presence of amphibians and the occurrence of road-kills. We compared the performances of five modeling techniques: (i) generalized linear models, (ii) generalized additive models, (iii) random forest, (iv) boosted regression trees, and (v) geographically weighted regression. The boosted regression trees and geographically weighted regression techniques performed the best, with a percentage of deviance explained between 61.8% and 76.6% and between 55.3% and 66.7%, respectively. Moreover, the geographically weighted regression showed a great advantage over the other techniques, as it allows mapping local parameter coefficients as well as local model performance (pseudo-R2). The results suggest that geographically weighted regression is a useful tool for road-kill modeling, as well as to better visualize and map the spatial variability of the models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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19 pages, 4827 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Differences in the Spatial Distribution among Terrestrial Mammals Using Geodetector—A Case Study of China
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10010021 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2400
Abstract
The survival and distribution of animals cannot be separated from a certain environment. How patterns in mammalian species depend on the environment remain unclear. This study incorporating spatial data on climate, precipitation, topography, and vegetation quantitatively analyzed the influence of specific geographical factors [...] Read more.
The survival and distribution of animals cannot be separated from a certain environment. How patterns in mammalian species depend on the environment remain unclear. This study incorporating spatial data on climate, precipitation, topography, and vegetation quantitatively analyzed the influence of specific geographical factors on the spatial distribution of terrestrial mammalian richness using the Geodetector model. We used the spatial analysis method of geographical information systems (GIS), separating the mammalian distribution of 621 species into 10 by 10 km grids to measure spatial richness. Our results showed that there were significant spatial differences in terrestrial mammalian richness in China. There was a low richness in the east and west, but high richness in the south. Individual factor detection results showed that annual precipitation (AP) and the minimum temperature of the coldest month (MTCM) were the dominant factors affecting the spatial pattern of mammal richness in China. Patterns in the distribution of species richness had distinct characteristics for different mammalian orders and were influenced by different environmental factors. The richness distribution of most orders was mainly affected by MTCM and AP. Interactive detection results showed that interacting factors in pairs play much bigger roles in the spatial distribution of species richness than individual factors. The synergistic effect of elevation with AP and MTCM best explained the distribution differences of species richness. We found that the Geodetector model is a valuable tool, hoping to be more widely used in biogeography. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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15 pages, 17957 KiB  
Article
Local Segregation of Realised Niches in Lizards
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(12), 764; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9120764 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3052
Abstract
Species can occupy different realised niches when sharing the space with other congeneric species or when living in allopatry. Ecological niche models are powerful tools to analyse species niches and their changes over time and space. Analysing how species’ realised niches shift is [...] Read more.
Species can occupy different realised niches when sharing the space with other congeneric species or when living in allopatry. Ecological niche models are powerful tools to analyse species niches and their changes over time and space. Analysing how species’ realised niches shift is paramount in ecology. Here, we examine the ecological realised niche of three species of wall lizards in six study areas: three areas where each species occurs alone; and three areas where they occur together in pairs. We compared the species’ realised niches and how they vary depending on species’ coexistence, by quantifying niche overlap between pairs of species or populations with the R package ecospat. For this, we considered three environmental variables (temperature, humidity, and wind speed) recorded at each lizard re-sighting location. Realised niches were very similar when comparing syntopic species occurring in the same study area. However, realised niches differed when comparing conspecific populations across areas. In each of the three areas of syntopy, the less abundant species shift its realised niche. Our study demonstrates that sympatry may shift species’ realised niche. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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25 pages, 9783 KiB  
Article
Combining Satellite Remote Sensing and Climate Data in Species Distribution Models to Improve the Conservation of Iberian White Oaks (Quercus L.)
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(12), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9120735 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4910
Abstract
The Iberian Peninsula hosts a high diversity of oak species, being a hot-spot for the conservation of European White Oaks (Quercus) due to their environmental heterogeneity and its critical role as a phylogeographic refugium. Identifying and ranking the drivers that shape [...] Read more.
The Iberian Peninsula hosts a high diversity of oak species, being a hot-spot for the conservation of European White Oaks (Quercus) due to their environmental heterogeneity and its critical role as a phylogeographic refugium. Identifying and ranking the drivers that shape the distribution of White Oaks in Iberia requires that environmental variables operating at distinct scales are considered. These include climate, but also ecosystem functioning attributes (EFAs) related to energy–matter exchanges that characterize land cover types under various environmental settings, at finer scales. Here, we used satellite-based EFAs and climate variables in species distribution models (SDMs) to assess how variables related to ecosystem functioning improve our understanding of current distributions and the identification of suitable areas for White Oak species in Iberia. We developed consensus ensemble SDMs targeting a set of thirteen oaks, including both narrow endemic and widespread taxa. Models combining EFAs and climate variables obtained a higher performance and predictive ability (true-skill statistic (TSS): 0.88, sensitivity: 99.6, specificity: 96.3), in comparison to the climate-only models (TSS: 0.86, sens.: 96.1, spec.: 90.3) and EFA-only models (TSS: 0.73, sens.: 91.2, spec.: 82.1). Overall, narrow endemic species obtained higher predictive performance using combined models (TSS: 0.96, sens.: 99.6, spec.: 96.3) in comparison to widespread oaks (TSS: 0.80, sens.: 92.6, spec.: 87.7). The Iberian White Oaks show a high dependence on precipitation and the inter-quartile range of Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) (i.e., seasonal water availability) which appears to be the most important EFA variable. Spatial projections of climate–EFA combined models contribute to identify the major diversity hotspots for White Oaks in Iberia, holding higher values of cumulative habitat suitability and species richness. We discuss the implications of these findings for guiding the long-term conservation of Iberian White Oaks and provide spatially explicit geospatial information about each oak species (or set of species) relevant for developing biogeographic conservation frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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21 pages, 8787 KiB  
Article
GIS-Based Assessment of Habitat Networks for Conservation Planning in Kas-Kekova Protected Area (Turkey)
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(2), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9020091 - 01 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4899
Abstract
The determination of protected area (PA) boundaries and the level of restrictions is very important for sustainable conservation, and such decisions must involve biodiversity data and assessment. In a PA, the consensus of the government and the locals is crucial to ensure protection–use [...] Read more.
The determination of protected area (PA) boundaries and the level of restrictions is very important for sustainable conservation, and such decisions must involve biodiversity data and assessment. In a PA, the consensus of the government and the locals is crucial to ensure protection–use balance. The PA restrictions constrain legal human activities, and the boundary determination and the restrictions should be based on various scientific analyses to achieve consensus. In this study, a GIS-based approach is proposed to utilize the biodiversity data for efficient conservation and land use planning in Kas-Kekova PA, which is among the most important PAs in Turkey. Spatial analysis methods, i.e., kernel density estimation, natural breaks classification and integrated density index, were performed for the assessment of the habitat networks using georeferenced biodiversity datasets, and the results were evaluated with respect to the actual land use data and the land ownership pattern. The developed spatial analysis approach is efficient to produce the conservation base maps required for regional land use planning, for defining sustainable conservation strategies, and to provide a widely accepted base for land use planning and biodiversity monitoring in the PA; although careful investigations and expert opinions are still required for data deficient areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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16 pages, 3207 KiB  
Article
Urban Ecological Corridor Network Construction: An Integration of the Least Cost Path Model and the InVEST Model
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9010033 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 43 | Viewed by 5391
Abstract
Under the background of urban expansion, ecological protection cannot be delayed. The construction of ecological networks is of considerable significance to ecosystem services. However, in the process of constructing a corridor network, there is no uniform standard for the selection of ecological sources [...] Read more.
Under the background of urban expansion, ecological protection cannot be delayed. The construction of ecological networks is of considerable significance to ecosystem services. However, in the process of constructing a corridor network, there is no uniform standard for the selection of ecological sources and the determination of cost factors. The InVEST model is an effective complement to ecosystem service assessment for sensitively measuring external threats and their threat intensity. Therefore, taking Wuhan as an example, we combined InVEST and the least cost path model (LCP) to construct a multi-target corridor network with comprehensive cost factors for birds and small terrestrial mammals. The results showed that: (1) The InVEST model provided a reliable basis for ecological source screening by demonstrating the distribution of habitat quality. (2) The corridor with a length of 12–25 km presented a “U” shape, and the impact of urbanization on small terrestrial mammals was more significant than that of birds. (3) The integrated network pattern proposed by the “point-line-plane” principle would provide a reference for urban ecological construction and sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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9 pages, 2166 KiB  
Article
An Improved Mobile Mapping System to Detect Road-Killed Amphibians and Small Birds
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(12), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi8120565 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2884
Abstract
Roads represent a major source of mortality for many species. To mitigate road mortality, it is essential to know where collisions with vehicles are happening and which species and populations are most affected. For this, moving platforms such as mobile mapping systems (MMS) [...] Read more.
Roads represent a major source of mortality for many species. To mitigate road mortality, it is essential to know where collisions with vehicles are happening and which species and populations are most affected. For this, moving platforms such as mobile mapping systems (MMS) can be used to automatically detect road-killed animals on the road surface. We recently developed an MMS to detect road-killed amphibians, composed of a scanning system on a trailer. We present here a smaller and improved version of this system (MMS2) for detecting road-killed amphibians and small birds. It is composed of a stereo multi-spectral and high definition camera (ZED), a high-power processing laptop, a global positioning system (GPS) device, a support device, and a lighter charger. The MMS2 can be easily attached to any vehicle and the surveys can be performed by any person with or without sampling skills. To evaluate the system’s effectiveness, we performed several controlled and real surveys in the Évora district (Portugal). In real surveys, the system detected approximately 78% of the amphibians and birds present on surveyed roads (overlooking 22%) and generated approximately 17% of false positives. Our system can improve the implementation of conservation measures, saving time for researchers and transportation planning professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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