Extended statistical approaches to modelling spatial pattern in biodiversity in northeast New South Wales. II. Community-level modelling
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- Ferrier, S., Drielsma, M., Manion, G. et al. Biodiversity and Conservation (2002) 11: 2309. doi:10.1023/A:1021374009951
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Regional conservation planning can often make more effective use of sparse biological data by linking these data to remotely mapped environmental variables through statistical modelling. While modelling distributions of individual species is the best known and most widely used approach to such modelling, there are many situations in which more information can be extracted from available data by supplementing, or replacing, species-level modelling with modelling of communities or assemblages. This paper provides an overview of approaches to community-level modelling employed in a series of major land-use planning processes in the northeast New South Wales region of Australia, and evaluates how well communities and assemblages derived using these techniques function as surrogates in regional conservation planning. We also outline three new directions that may enhance the effectiveness of community-level modelling by: (1) more closely integrating modelling with traditional ecological mapping (e.g. vegetation mapping); (2) more tightly linking numerical classification and spatial modelling through application of canonical classification techniques; and (3) enhancing the applicability of modelling to data-poor regions through employment of a new technique for modelling spatial pattern in compositional dissimilarity.