Modelling the potential distribution of tree species on a national scale in colombia: application to palicourea angustifolia kunth and palicourea guianensis aubl.
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The results in this study illustrate the methods of using the existing species' presentrecords and environmental data to produce a niche-based model based on Mahalanobis distances, and also to predict the distribution of a number of tree species in order to apply it on a national scale to a tropical country such as Colombia. The technique applied is based on the Mahalanobis distance, a generalised squared distance statistic. We used environmental data integrated into a GIS, and a georeferenced collection of localities of Palicourea angustifolia and Palicourea guianensis to produce and test the predictive models. We used record data for Warszewiczia coccinea to validate the model. The two Palicourea species show largely complementary potential ranges. P. angustifolia shows a clear Andean distribution with a presence in lower and upper mountain areas but not in the highlands or in the inter-Andean valleys. P. guianensis was predicted throughout most of the lowland areas of Colombia including lowland Amazonian forests, and most of the tropical savannas of Orinoquia. The model predicted an overlapping distribution of the two species of 93.9 km2. The Mahalanobian approach contributes to the development of biogeographically oriented modelling that makes the best use of the available data in data-scarce regions (such as most of the tropics). The technique provides key information about the environmental niche of the species being modelled, and allows comparisons between the species. The prediction achieved for the two species was considered satisfactory.
- Caldasia