Accounting for uncertainty when mapping species distributions: The need for maps of ignorance

Duccio Rocchini, Joaquín Hortal, Szabolcs Lengyel, Jorge M. Lobo, Alberto Jiménez-Valverde, Carlo Ricotta, Giovanni Bacaro, Alessandro Chiarucci

Research output: Article

204 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Accurate mapping of species distributions is a fundamental goal of modern biogeography, both for basic and applied purposes. This is commonly done by plotting known species occurrences, expert-drawn range maps or geographical estimations derived from species distribution models. However, all three kinds of maps are implicitly subject to uncertainty, due to the quality and bias of raw distributional data, the process of map building, and the dynamic nature of species distributions themselves. Here we review the main sources of uncertainty suggesting a code of good practices in order to minimize their effects. Specifically, we claim that uncertainty should be always explicitly taken into account and we propose the creation of maps of ignorance to provide information on where the mapped distributions are reliable and where they are uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-226
Number of pages16
JournalProgress in Physical Geography
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - ápr. 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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    Rocchini, D., Hortal, J., Lengyel, S., Lobo, J. M., Jiménez-Valverde, A., Ricotta, C., Bacaro, G., & Chiarucci, A. (2011). Accounting for uncertainty when mapping species distributions: The need for maps of ignorance. Progress in Physical Geography, 35(2), 211-226. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309133311399491