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Modeling the distribution of white spruce (Picea glauca) for Alaska with high accuracy: an open access role-model for predicting tree species in last remaining wilderness areas

TitleModeling the distribution of white spruce (Picea glauca) for Alaska with high accuracy: an open access role-model for predicting tree species in last remaining wilderness areas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsOhse, B, Huettmann, F, Ickert-Bond, SM, Juday, GP
JournalPolar Biology
Volume32
Pagination1717–1729
Abstract

Most wilderness areas still lack accurate distributioninformation on tree species. We met this needwith a predictive GIS modeling approach, using freelyavailable digital data and computer programs to efficientlyobtain high-quality species distribution maps. Here wepresent a digital map with the predicted distribution ofwhite spruce (Picea glauca) in Alaska (4 km resolution,accuracy over 90%). Our presented concept represents arole-model for predicting tree species distribution forremote areas world-wide. Although this model intends tobe accurate in making predictions rather than to givedetailed biological mechanistic explanations, it can alsobe used as a baseline for further research and testablehypothesis on the importance of the environmentalvariables used to build a generalizable model. Further, weemphasize that work like presented here is a pre-conditionfor assessing human impacts and impacts of climate changeon species distribution in a quantitative and transparentfashion, allowing for improved sustainable decision-makingworld-wide.

DOI10.1007/s00300-009-0671-9