Improving species distribution models of endangered plants in Mexico


The project aims to develop and refine species distribution models of 227 plant species (belonging to the families Orchidaceae, Pinaceae, Cupressaceae, Taxaceae, and Podocarpaceae) listed as endangered, threatened, or as subject to special protection in Mexico with the perspective to support conservation management. The refinement of the species distribution models includes two major aspects, namely (1) the inclusion of remote sensing data in addition to climatic data and (2) spatial assessments of model uncertainty. For each species, different products of distribution ranges (continuous, categorical) are modeled at 1 km² resolution using different model algorithms (e.g. Maxent, GLM, Random Forest). As remote sensing predictors, Terra-MODIS time series (Enhanced Vegetation Index, Land Surface Temperature) are analyzed. The project also involves importance assessments of climate and remote sensing variables to explain species distributions and the extraction of species-specific climatic and phenological profiles. The project is carried out as collaboration between the Department of Computational Landscape Ecology of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and the Institute of Biology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).


Dr. Anna Cord

Phone: +49 (0)341 235 1070
Fax: +49 (0)341 235 1939



Funding (December 2013 – June 2015)

National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO), Mexico