Habitat suitability modelling and predictive maps
Habitat Suitability Modelling (HSM) is a statistical technique that describes the relationship between a species and its environment, providing important information about its habitat requirements. When used alongside Geographic Information Systems (GIS), maps can be produced to predict the suitability of habitat for a species within a study area. Multi-species maps can also be produced to identify areas of overlapping suitable habitat within a landscape and highlight areas of conservation priority. These maps are easy to interpret and provide a visual tool that can be used for decision-making, strategic planning and targeted conservation efforts.
We have been involved in numerous projects producing predictive habitat suitability models and maps for different bat species in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in the UK (see some examples below). We have also developed HSMs for assessing the impact of linear infrastructure such as roads (Berthinussen & Altringham 2015), and have modelled bat roost records across the county of West Yorkshire.
Berthinussen, A. & Altringham J. (2015) WC1060: Development of a cost-effective method for monitoring the effectiveness of mitigation for bats crossing linear transport infrastructure. Final report to Defra.