GIS AS A TOOL TO MAP HABITAT SUITABILITY FOR TWO LIZARD SPECIES USING ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS


Mert A., KIRAÇ A.

FRESENIUS ENVIRONMENTAL BULLETIN, vol.28, pp.1330-1336, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Journal Name: FRESENIUS ENVIRONMENTAL BULLETIN
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded
  • Page Numbers: pp.1330-1336

Abstract

Reptiles are key components of Mediterranean ecosystems. Climate change, forest management practices, agricultural activity, land degradation and forest fragmentation represent the greatest threats to reptiles. Therefore, efficient tools are necessary for monitoring these vulnerable species. Habitat suitability maps have been found to be valuable tools for the monitoring of reptilian species and conservation, particularly across broad landscapes. This study was undertaken to determine the relations between two species of lizard, Stellagama stellio (Agamidae) and Ophisops elegans (Lacertidae) and environmental variables in the Isparta-Siiteiller district (Turkey). Habitat suitability maps were then produced. The relationship between the two species and 21 environmental variables were analyzed using MaxEnt and mapped with ArcGIS. The study showed that bedrock, annual precipitation, slope, ruggedness, stream density, topographic position index, land cover/use classes and altitude are predictor variables for modelling Stellagama stellio. The environmental factors that create the optimum habitat suitability model for Ophisops elegans were bedrock, annual precipitation, slope, ruggedness, landform index, land cover/use classes and stream density. In conclusion, we found that environmental variables and geographic information systems can successfully be used to generate habitat suitability maps for Stellagama stellio and Ophisops elegans.