Using GIS techniques to model the distribution of the economically important xaté palm Chamaedorea ernesti-augusti within the Greater Maya Mountains, Belize

Penn, Malcolm G. and Moncrieff, Clive B. and Bridgewater, Samuel G. M. and Garwood, Nancy C. and Bateman, Richard M. and Chan, Ivis and Cho, Percival (2009) Using GIS techniques to model the distribution of the economically important xaté palm Chamaedorea ernesti-augusti within the Greater Maya Mountains, Belize. Systematics and Biodiversity, 7 (01). p. 63. ISSN 1477-2000

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    Abstract

    The purpose of this investigation was to model the distribution of the fishtail xat´e palm (Chamaedorea ernesti-augusti) and to investigate the effectiveness of using geostatistical techniques to map its distribution. The leaves of the Central American xat´e palm C. ernesti-augusti are now extensively cut for the floricultural industry; across its range, populations are being over-harvested. In Central America, the Greater Maya Mountains (GMM), Belize are widely believed to be an abundance ‘hotspot’ for this species. In total, 220 sample sites were systematically located throughout the GMM, based on a fixed distance interval using the accessible track/road network. Species counts and environmental data were collected from each 20 m × 20 m plot. Statistical analyses were carried out using GenStat and Arc- GIS.Weused several semivariogram models,within bespoke GenStat procedures, to map the log-transformed xat´e abundance data. Validation ofmodels used the official GenStat Kcross-validation procedure. Of the six models investigated in detail, the ‘Bounded Linear’ model outperformed all others and most effectively represented the spatial distribution of C. ernesti-augusti. Environmental factors were found to have low statistical significance for the distribution of the xat´e palm. The predicted map shows that the geographic abundance was dominated by low xat´e counts; xat´e abundance values for this region appear to have been consistently overestimated in the literature. Our study showed the effectiveness of using local modelling techniques to map xat´e abundances and reveal local abundance hotspots. It highlighted areas needing further survey work and the need for collecting more environmental data to improve the prediction of plant distribution in this region using niche and/or co-kriging modelling approaches. Our study suggested that the xat´e resource in Belize needs a careful conservation approach.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
    Related URLs:
    Unique ID or DOI: 10.1017/S1477200008002880
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Keywords: Abundance, Chamaedorea, geostatistics, interpolation, kriging, kriging range, non-timber forest product, spatial-variation, variogram, xat´e
    Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AH) Plants
    (Z) Other or Unspecified
    Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
    Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2010 16:43
    Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:24
    URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1136

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