An application of geographic information systems to model the habitat suitability of Pan troglodytes ellioti in Mount Cameroon National Park in the context of a changing global climate

Francis Molua Mwambo, Pedro Cabral

Abstract


As scientists continue to discover convincing evidence that the earth’s climate is adversely changing, and that these changes could impact the habitat suitability of some wildlife species; wildlife conservationists are increasingly worried of what may become the fate of most species on earth. In the light of such uncertainty, geographic information systems (GIS) can be used as a tool to model for the habitat suitability of a species. Such modeling provides reliable information upon which decision making could be based for planning conservation management aimed at protecting areas that are currently suitable as well as those that may become suitable in future if the global climate changes according to the scenarios as described; and the changes impact the species’ habitat suitability. GIS in combination to Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) distribution model were used to model the habitat suitability for Pan troglodytes ellioti on Mount Fako (Cameroon) as a case study area. The results show that the predicted habitat suitability may shift from lower altitudes to higher altitudes as the global climate may change from the current climatic conditions to warmer climatic conditions in the future as proposed in the climate scenario that assumes the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases may double by 2050. The accuracy assessment measured in terms of the Area Under the Curve (AUC) was 0.699.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12895/jaeid.20141.202