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    Developing a predictive modelling capacity for a climate change-vulnerable blanket bog habitat: Assessing 1961-1990 baseline relationships

    Coll, John and Bourke, David and Sheehy Skeffington, Micheline and Sweeney, John and Gormally, Michael (2011) Developing a predictive modelling capacity for a climate change-vulnerable blanket bog habitat: Assessing 1961-1990 baseline relationships. Irish Geography, 44 (1). pp. 27-60. ISSN 0075-0778

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    Aim: Understanding the spatial distribution of high priority habitats and developing predictive models using climate and environmental variables to replicate these distributions are desirable conservation goals. The aim of this study was to model and elucidate the contributions of climate and topography to the distribution of a priority blanket bog habitat in Ireland, and to examine how this might inform the development of a climate change predictive capacity for peat-lands in Ireland. Methods: Ten climatic and two topographic variables were recorded for grid cells with a spatial resolution of 1010 km, covering 87% of the mainland land surface of Ireland. Presence-absence data were matched to these variables and generalised linear models (GLMs) fitted to identify the main climatic and terrain predictor variables for occurrence of the habitat. Candidate predictor variables were screened for collinearity, and the accuracy of the final fitted GLM was evaluated using fourfold cross-validation based on the area under the curve (AUC) derived from a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) plot. The GLM predicted habitat occurrence probability maps were mapped against the actual distributions using GIS techniques. Results: Despite the apparent parsimony of the initial GLM using only climatic variables, further testing indicated collinearity among temperature and precipitation variables for example. Subsequent elimination of the collinear variables and inclusion of elevation data produced an excellent performance based on the AUC scores of the final GLM. Mean annual temperature and total mean annual precipitation in combination with elevation range were the most powerful explanatory variable group among those explored for the presence of blanket bog habitat. Main conclusions: The results confirm that this habitat distribution in general can be modelled well using the non-collinear climatic and terrain variables tested at the grid resolution used. Mapping the GLM-predicted distribution to the observed distribution produced useful results in replicating the projected occurrence of the habitat distribution over an extensive area. The methods developed will usefully inform future climate change predictive modelling for Ireland

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Irish Geography © [2011] [copyright Taylor & Francis]; Irish Geography is available online at: We would like to thank Fabrizio Albanito, Allison Donnelly and Mike Jones at Trinity College, Dublin for kindly supplying us with their data and allowing us to build upon their work. We thank Naomi Kingston, Robert Ovington and Gemma Weir at NPWS, Ireland for supplying the GIS habitat maps for the Irish priority habitats and species. We also thank Graham French at the National Biodiversity Network (UK) for supplying the GIS-enabled Irish Grid data and Steve Wilkinson at the Joint Nature Conservancy Council for supplying the UK priority habitats and species database from which the NI records were extracted. Without their assistance and support our progress in the methods developed here for Ireland would have been considerably slower. This research was supported by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency under grant 2007-CCRP-2.26.
    Keywords: active blanket bogs; conservation; climate change; adaptation; GLM; model validation; collinearity; topography;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 2884
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Prof. John Sweeney
    Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2011 16:36
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish Geography
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Refereed: No
    Funders: Irish Environmental Protection Agency

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