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  • Woolley, Skipton; Bax, Nicolas; Currie, Jock; Dunn, Daniel; Hansen, Cecilie; Hill, Nicole; O'Hara, Timothy; Ovaskainen, Otso; Sayre, Roger; Vanhatalo, Jarno; Dunstan, Piers (2020)
    Bioregions are important tools for understanding and managing natural resources. Bioregions should describe locations of relatively homogenous assemblages of species occur, enabling managers to better regulate activities that might affect these assemblages. Many existing bioregionalization approaches, which rely on expert-derived, Delphic comparisons or environmental surrogates, do not explicitly include observed biological data in such analyses. We highlight that, for bioregionalizations to be useful and reliable for systems scientists and managers, the bioregionalizations need to be based on biological data; to include an easily understood assessment of uncertainty, preferably in a spatial format matching the bioregions; and to be scientifically transparent and reproducible. Statistical models provide a scientifically robust, transparent, and interpretable approach for ensuring that bioregions are formed on the basis of observed biological and physical data. Using statistically derived bioregions provides a repeatable framework for the spatial representation of biodiversity at multiple spatial scales. This results in better-informed management decisions and biodiversity conservation outcomes.
  • Kemppinen, Julia; Niittynen, Pekka; Riihimaki, Henri; Luoto, Miska (2018)
    Soil moisture has a pronounced effect on earth surface processes. Global soil moisture is strongly driven by climate, whereas at finer scales, the role of non-climatic drivers becomes more important. We provide insights into the significance of soil and land surface properties in landscape-scale soil moisture variation by utilizing high-resolution light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data and extensive field investigations. The data consist of 1200 study plots located in a high-latitude landscape of mountain tundra in north-western Finland. We measured the plots three times during growing season 2016 with a hand-held time-domain reflectometry sensor. To model soil moisture and its temporal variation, we used four statistical modelling methods: generalized linear models, generalized additive models, boosted regression trees, and random forests. The model fit of the soil moisture models were R-2 = 0.60 and root mean square error (RMSE) 8.04 VWC% on average, while the temporal variation models showed a lower fit of R-2 = 0.25 and RMSE 13.11 CV%. The predictive performances for the former were R-2 = 0.47 and RMSE 9.34 VWC%, and for the latter R-2 = 0.01 and RMSE 15.29 CV%. Results were similar across the modelling methods, demonstrating a consistent pattern. Soil moisture and its temporal variation showed strong heterogeneity over short distances; therefore, soil moisture modelling benefits from high-resolution predictors, such as LiDAR based variables. In the soil moisture models, the strongest predictor was SAGA (System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses) wetness index (SWI), based on a 1m(2) digital terrain model derived from LiDAR data, which outperformed soil predictors. Thus, our study supports the use of LiDAR based SWI in explaining fine-scale soil moisture variation. In the temporal variation models, the strongest predictor was the field-quantified organic layer depth variable. Our results show that spatial soil moisture predictions can be based on soil and land surface properties, yet the temporal models require further investigation. Copyright (c) 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Räsänen, Aleksi; Kuitunen, Markku; Hjort, Jan; Vaso, Asta; Kuitunen, Tuomo; Lensu, Anssi (2016)
    We explained vascular plant species richness patterns in a 286 km(2) fragmented landscape with a notable human influence. The objective of this study was two-fold: to test the relative importance of landscape, topography and geodiversity measures, and to compare three different landscape-type variables in species richness modeling. Moreover, we tested if results differ when only native species are considered. We used generalized linear modeling based variation partitioning and generalized additive models with different explanatory variable sets. Landscape and topography explained the majority of the variation but the relative importance of topography and geodiversity was higher in explaining native species richness than in explaining total species richness. Differences between the three landscape type variables were small and they provided complementary information. Finally, topography and geodiversity often direct human action and can be ultimate causes behind both landscape variability and species richness patterns.