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Geographical data resources are growing– are we using them in spatial conservation planning?

Aija Kukkala, Vuokko Heikinheimo and Tuuli Toivonen

(Submission #426)


High resolution environmental data sets have become increasingly available during the last decade. In addition to legislative is due to the increase of remote sensing programmes and freely available data sharing services. Environmental data is needed to carry out efficient spatial conservation prioritization: for instance, species distributions are often modelled using environmental variables derived from spatial data. In the prioritization itself, anthropogenic, economic and administrative data help to ensure cost-effective and sustainable solutions. Here, we examine if and how spatial conservation planning (SCP) takes advantage of the extensive resources of environmental spatial data. Firstly, we summarize currently available data sources for SCP. Secondly, we examine recent research papers that use species distribution modelling (SDM; 333 papers) or SCP (141 papers). We show that a wide range of data sets is freely available with relatively high resolution (at least 1 km2) in global extent and even more in Europe due to INSPIRE. Nevertheless, while 86 % of SDM papers use climate variables, only 32 % apply data on suitable habitats or land cover. Furthermore, only half of the SCP papers use any data at all about human activities (threats, land value, etc.). We conclude that opportunities may be missed when overly simplistic data sources are used as basis of SDM or SCP.


Topic Area:  [1.2] Nature and biodiversity
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

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