Valerio Amici and Francesco Geri from Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali “G. Sarfatti”, Università di Siena, Italy, and Corrado Battisti from Ufficio Conservazione natura, Servizio Ambiente, Provincia di Roma, Italy, has come out with an excellent new model to create habitat suitability models for fragmented landscapes.
Habitat suitability models are theoretical concepts that can be used for planning in fragmented landscapes and habitat conservation. The most commonly used models are based on single species and on the assignment of suitability values for some environmental variables. Generally the cartographic basis for modeling suitability is thematic maps produced by a Boolean logic. In the new method the scientists propose a model based on a set of focal species and on maps produced by a fuzzy classification method. This method allows a better detection of ecological gradients within a landscape.
The scientists’ applied the new methodology to the Tuscany region focusing on terrestrial mammals. Performing a fuzzy classification they produced five land cover maps and through image processing operations they obtained a suitability model which applies a continuity criterion. The resulting suitability fuzzy model seems better for the study of connectivity and fragmentation, especially in areas with high spatial complexity.