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Modelling habitat suitability of the swamp antechinus (Antechinus minimus maritimus) in the coastal heathlands of southern Victoria, Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2004-05-01, 00:00 authored by Lesley Gibson, Barbara Wilson, David CahillDavid Cahill, J Hill
In recent years, predictive habitat distribution models, derived by combining multivariate statistical analyses with Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, have been recognised for their utility in conservation planning. The size and spatial arrangement of suitable habitat can influence the long-term persistence of some faunal species. In southwestern Victoria, Australia, populations of the rare swamp antechinus (Antechinus minimus maritimus) are threatened by further fragmentation of suitable habitat. In the current study, a spatially explicit habitat suitability model was developed for A. minimus that incorporated a measure of vegetation structure. Models were generated using logistic regression with species presence or absence as the dependent variable and landscape variables, extracted from both GIS data layers and multi-spectral digital imagery, as the predictors. The most parsimonious model, based on the Akaike Information Criterion, was spatially extrapolated in the GIS. Probability of species presence was used as an index of habitat suitability. A negative association between A. minimus presence and both elevation and habitat complexity was evidenced, suggesting a preference for relatively low altitudes and a vegetation structure of low vertical complexity. The predictive performance of the selected model was shown to be high (91%), indicating a good fit of the model to the data. The proportion of the study area predicted as suitable habitat for A. minimus (Probability of occurrence greater-or-equal, slanted0.5) was 11.7%. Habitat suitability maps not only provide baseline information about the spatial arrangement of potentially suitable habitat for a species, but they also help to refine the search for other populations, making them an important conservation tool.



Biological conservation






143 - 150


Elsevier BV


Amsterdam, Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2004, Elsevier BV