Hortal, J. & Lobo, J.M. (2001). A preliminary methodological approach to model the spatial distribution of biodiversity attributes. In Spatio-temporal modelling of environmental processes. Proceedings of the 1st Spanish workshop on spatio-temporal modelling of environmental processes (ed por J. Mateu and F. Montes), pp. 211-229. Publicacions de la Universitat Jaume I, Castelló de la Plana.
In a time when conservation strategies based on biodiversity data are needed, our knowledge about its geographical distribution is scarce and biased. Most regions and living organisms’ groups are partly or completely unknown, so estimated maps of biodiversity attributes are needed. To reach this target quickly, it seems necessary to develop new survey planning methods and rapid, easy-to-use statistical methods able to forecast several biodiversity attributes on a reliable manner. Biogeographers and conservation ecologists have proposed several methods to face the latter goal, and arising Geostatistics also provide some interpolation methods, but there exists a lack of knowledge about which distributional data are good enough to produce good results, and also about which forecasting method is the best to use at a given spatial scale on each kind of territory and group of organisms. It is in this task where the joint work of mathematicians and biodiversity scientists is needed. Many of the problems occurring when modelling the spatial distribution of biodiversity attributes are discussed, and a step-by-step heuristic modelling methodology that tries to afford many of them, based on the use of GLM with environmental and spatial variables, is also proposed and discussed. Its use has been exemplified by the developing of a model to forecast species richness scores for a group of insects (Col., Scarabaeinae) on the Iberian Peninsula.