Habitat suitability mapping for sand cat (Felis margarita) in Central Iran using remote sensing techniques


One of the primary reason of species extinction especially rare species with very specific requirements, is habitat destruction. To protect these species, habitat suitability evaluation plays a central role. Hence, an attempt is made in this study to evaluate the suitability of sand cat’s habitat in a sand dune-dominated landscape in Iran. Four Landsat-derived indices including Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Weighted Difference Vegetation Index, Brightness Index (BI) and Salinity Index were combined to characterize sand cat’s habitat requirements through a land use land cover (LULC) map. Furthermore, a set of landscape metrics were employed to explore the spatial pattern LULC classes. Sand cat’s habitat suitability map was generated by linear combination of the standardized and relatively weighted NDVI and BI indices and then categorized into five classes of most suitable, highly suitable, moderately suitable, least suitable and not suitable. The results showed that about 75% of the total area is suitable for sand cat. Although this region is rich in biodiversity, it has not yet been subject to any conservation planning and should be granted more conservation attentions.

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We would like to thank Mohamad Reza Halvani and Ardeshir Khosravi for contribution in field surveys, Mohsen Ahmadi for his valuable comments and Behnam Rasti for improving the use of English.

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Correspondence to Shiva Torabian.

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Torabian, S., Soffianian, A., Fakheran, S. et al. Habitat suitability mapping for sand cat (Felis margarita) in Central Iran using remote sensing techniques. Spat. Inf. Res. 26, 11–20 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41324-017-0152-0

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  • Habitat suitability mapping
  • Remote sensing
  • Landsat
  • GIS
  • Sand cat