Factors associated with the distributions of orchids in the Jeseníky mountains, Czech Republic
Species distribution models are a useful tool and are now often used in many branches of biology, especially when dealing with threatened organisms. In combination with GIS techniques, these models are especially important and valuable for predicting the occurrence of rare species, for example orchids. Orchids are an endangered plant group, protected worldwide. Questions about their conservation are therefore highly discussed, but not all factors affecting their survival and distribution are known. Here we present an example of using SDMs for analysing orchid species occurrence data from the Jeseniky Mountains in the Czech Republic. Our data were analysed using the MaxEnt program, which produces species distribution maps and thus allows the prediction of the potential occurrence of orchids at yet unknown localities. This program also determines the environmental factors affecting species distribution. This is important for the better protection of orchids, because only by knowing these factors can new localities be found or the management plans that are crucial for maintaining orchid localities be improved. We studied the most abundant orchid species in the given region. We determined the most important factors affecting their occurrence and also areas, where new sites are most likely to be discovered and depicted them in potential distribution maps. This approach can help in finding new localities of orchids and in understanding, which environmental factors influence the occurrence of endangered orchids.
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