Species Conservation Landscapes (SCL) are mapped for each species at each time point by combining maps from Earth Observations from remote sensing, compiled maps of the Human Footprint, on-the-ground observations, and a series of species specific rules. Inputs include:
- Indigenous range of the species, which describes the region where the species is thought to have lived before humans significantly influenced its distribution during the Holocene period. The indigenous range provides the outer boundary of the analysis;
- Land cover maps, which describe the major land use / land cover types, such as urban and agricultural areas and ecosystem types such as forests, shrublands, wetlands, and deserts;
- Vegetation height maps, which describe the height of the vegetation over the land surface;
- Elevation maps, which describe the altitude of the land surface;
- The human footprint, which is a map of human influence assembled from maps of human population density, infrastructure, including buildings, roads, and railways; access from roads, rails, coastlines and major rivers; and energy consumption, as measured by the stable night-time lights data;
- Species observations compiled from surveys reported in the scientific literature, governmental reports, online archives, and other sources; and
- Species-specific rules about patch size minimums, dispersal distances, and habitat suitability.
Mapping SCL requires several steps, which in turn generate important intermediary analyses of species habitat.
- Structural habitat finds all the places with all the surface qualities (e.g. land cover, vegetation height, elevation, etc.) within the indigenous range suitable for the species. Structural habitat represents essentially the satellite's view of what looks like suitable habitat, but what looks like good habitat can often be "empty" because of what people are doing (and have done).
- Effective potential habitat finds all the areas of structural habitat with relatively low human footprint scores, based on a social tolerance threshold derived from analysis of the species observations. Removing areas with too much human footprint stands in for factors such as disturbance, prey depletion, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict
- Landscapes are collections of effective potential habitat patches above the patch size minimum and within the dispersal distance minimum of another patch. Landscapes should be considered one geographic unit for species conservation purposes. Landscapes may cross international boundaries. Fragments are habitat patches disconnected from landscapes and below the patch size minimum.
- Landscapes and fragments are characterized by whether an area has been surveyed recent and whether in those surveys (or in some other way) the species has been positively confirmed. Species landscapes are defined by recent evidence of the species (e.g. within the last 5 years). Survey landscapes have equivocal evidence or have not been sufficiently surveyed. Restoration landscapes are areas where the species is known or presumed to be extirpated. Each part of landscape within a state or province of a country is characterized separately and then landscapes are reassembled. Full definitions are provided here.
The results of the analysis are available range-wide and for each range country through the map and data access page on this website.
Tiger Conservation Landscapes (c. 2005)