Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 251–271 | Cite as

Integrating species distribution modelling into decision-making to inform conservation actions

  • Dani VilleroEmail author
  • Magda Pla
  • David Camps
  • Jordi Ruiz-Olmo
  • Lluís Brotons
Review Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biodiversity protection and reserves


Species distribution models (SDMs) have been widely tagged as valuable tools in a variety of conservation assessments to address pressing conservation problems. However, these solutions could be hampered by difficulties to overcome the knowledge-action boundary between conservation and modelling practice. These difficulties have been well typified in the ecological modelling sphere, but a specific conceptual framework on how to bridge this gap is still lacking. This work reports successful examples on how to use SDMs to identify the most favourable habitats for implementing conservation management actions. We use these examples to discuss about the three main topics that deserve special attention to help enhance information flow between practitioners and modellers: the decision context, the modelling framework and the spatial products. Finally, we suggest some practical solutions to improve applications of effective conservation action on the ground. We emphasize the importance of matching modelling goals and decision targets by a close collaboration of modellers with decision makers and species experts. Moreover, we highlight the key role of clear and useful spatial products to provide relevant and timely feedback to increase understanding and promote utilisation by conservation practitioners, and to inform and involve targeted audiences.


Conservation management Environmental payments Habitat corridor Implementation gap Knowledge-action boundary Risk assessments Species distribution models 



CARTOBIO improvements were thanks to the contributions of people from the Catalan Government (I. Afonso, A. Bertolero, J. Bonfil, J. Canut, R. Casanovas, D. García, E. Guinart, S. Lleonart, J. M. Olmo, M. Pomarol, A. Tarrago, S. Palazón and T. Torrell), the Catalan Ornithological Institute (M. Anton, R. Aymí and S. Herrando), the Granollers Museum of Natural Sciences (A. Arrizabalaga, C. Flaquer, X. Puig and I. Torre), the “Grup d’Estudis i Proteccio de la Tortuga” (J. Budó, X. Capalleras and A. Vilardell), the University of Girona (P. Pons and N. Roura-Pascual), and the Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (G. Bota, J. Camprodon, A. Franquesa, A. Gil-Tena, D. Giralt, D. Guixé, L. Juarez, N. Pou, F. Sardà). Thanks to V. Hermoso to read and improve the manuscript, and C. Polce for generous and constructive review and good ideas. This work was partially funded from FORESTCAST (CGL2014-59742) project, Granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC-InFOREST)SolsonaSpain
  2. 2.Directorate-General for Environmental PolicyMinistry of Territory and Sustainability, Government of CataloniaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Directorate-General of the Natural Environment and BiodiversityMinistry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and Natural Environment, Government of CataloniaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF)Cerdanyola del VallèsSpain
  5. 5.Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)Cerdanyola del VallèsSpain

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