Published online December 21, 2022
Journal of Ecology and Environment (2022) 46:32
© The Ecological Society of Korea.
Research Center for Endangered Species, National Institute of Ecology, Yeongyang 36531, Republic of Korea
Correspondence to:Young-Jun Yoon
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: We developed a habitat suitability index (HSI) model for Pedicularis hallaisanensis, a Grade II Endangered Species in South Korea. To determine the habitat variables, we conducted a literature review on P. hallaisanensis with a specific focus on the associated spatial factors, climate, topography, threats, and soil factors to derive five environmental factors that influence P. hallaisanensis habitats. The specific variables were defined based on the collected data and consultations with experts in the field, with the validity of each variable tested through field studies.
Results: Mt. Seorak had a suitable habitat area of 2.48 km2 for sites with a score of 1 (0.62% of total area) and 0.01 km2 for sites with a score of 0.9. Mt. Bangtae had a suitable habitat area of 0.03 km2 for sites with a score of 1 (0.02% of total area) and 0 km2 for sites with a score of 0.9. Mt. Gaya showed 0.13 km2 of suitable habitat for sites with a score of 1 (0.17% of total area) and 0 km2 for sites with a score of 0.9. Lastly, Mt. Halla showed 3.12 km2 of suitable habitat related to sites with a score of 1 (2.04% of total area) and 4.08 km2 of sites with a score of 0.9 (2.66% of total area). Mt. Halla accounts for 73.1% of the total core habitat area. Considering the climatic, soil, and forest conditions together with standardized collection sites, our results indicate that Mt. Halla should be viewed as a core habitat of P. hallaisanensis.
Conclusions: The findings in this study provide useful data for the identification of core habitat areas and potential alternative habitats to prevent the extinction of the endangered species, P. hallaisanensis. Furthermore, the developed HSI model allows for the prediction of suitable habitats based on the ecological niche of a given species to identify its unique distribution and causal factors.
Keywords: endangered species, endemic species, habitat restoration, habitat suitability index, Pedicularis hallaisanensis
Research on the genus
If species appearance data are abundant, statistical-based models can be used to measure species distribution. A variety of species distribution models can be used to define relationships between empirical distribution data and environmental data (Elith and Leathwick 2009). However, it is difficult to predict this distribution in the case of species whose ecological characteristics have not been properly studied or in the case of small populations. This requires a process-based approach. The habitat suitability index (HSI) is a case in point, which can leverage less data to provide efficient decision support tools for ecosystem conservation.
A HSI allows for the quantification of environmental factors that affect habitats and represent the quality of those habitats. An HSI is based on habitat variables that identify the habitat requirements of a specific biological species (Shim 2004).
Up to date, only four studies have used HSI models for the investigation of plants indigenous to South Korea, including
Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop an HSI model for
This study was conducted in two steps. First, we development a HSI model for
To determine the habitat variables, we conducted a literature review on
The specific variables were defined based on the collected data and consultations with experts in the field, with the validity of each variable tested through field studies.
And, using data from field studies and the national survey on the distribution of endangered species, we identified 14 natural habitats Mt. Seorak (4 sites), Mt. Bangtae (1 site), Mt. Gaya (4 sites) and Mt. Halla (5 sites) of
The data were analyzed regarding the historical distributions, ecological characteristics, topography, threats, and soil factors related to
From the primary data set and through consultations with experts in the field, we derived the following five most influential habitat variables for
Based on our findings, referring to Lee et al (2017), we determined a suitability index (SI) and, consequently, developed a HSI model. We used ArcMap 10.7 to construct the data required in the spatial analysis for each SI model (Table 2). All raster layers were aligned with 30 m cell size, and SI layers were produced by the Reclassify tool. After that, the HSI value was obtained by the SI layers using the raster calculator. This allowed us to analyze the core habitats of
Based on the findings of our literature review, we selected environmental factors and primary habitat variables for
The field study of the natural habitats of
Results from our literature review and consultations with experts in the field indicated that
Considering the characteristic distribution of
Results from our review of relevant literature together with environmental monitoring data showed
Results from our literature review and field study indicated that
When the crown density is high, the light intensity cannot reach the ground level. However, there was no light intensity information constructed as spatial data, the crown density was replaced with light intensity with reference to expert advice.
The importance of each SI variable was estimated through expert consultation (Table 3), with the weighted value set to define the relationship with the HSI model (Equation 1).
Based on the spatial data of each habitat variable, we constructed HSI maps for
To verify our findings, we compared the results from the HSI model with field data from 14
This study was conducted to suggest the HSI and the core habitats of
As a result, the following five habitat variables were selected for
Mt. Halla accounts for 73.1% of the total core habitat area. Considering the climatic, soil, and forest conditions together with standardized collection sites, our results indicate that Mt. Halla should be viewed as a core habitat of
The findings in this study provide useful data for the identification of core habitat areas and potential alternative habitats to prevent the extinction of the endangered species,
Furthermore, the developed HSI model allows for the prediction of suitable habitats based on the ecological niche of a given species to identify its unique distribution and causal factors. Notably, as the effect of microhabitats, threats, and environmental change fell beyond the scope of our study, If the spatial data on the micro-climate and the long-term monitoring of the
Supplementary Information accompanies this paper at https://doi.org/10.5141/jee.22.067.
Table S1. Classification of vegetation zone (Yim, 1977). Table S2. Gravel content (SI 4) criteria and differentiation based on the evaluation system used in the soil information system of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Korea. Table S3. Classification of crown density using data from the Forest Geospatial Information System (FGIS).jee-46-32-supple.pdf
RHJ did writing-original draft, review & editing, SK did investigation and data curation. JWJ did methodology and writing review, JWT did investigation and data curation. SC did conceptualization and writing-review & editing. YJY did conceptualization, investigation, and writing-review & editing.
This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Ecology (NIE), funded by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) of the Republic of Korea (NIE-B-2022-34).
The author declares that they have no competing interests.
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Hong Geun Kim, Rae-Ha Jang, Sunryoung Kim, Jae-Hwa Tho, Jin-Woo Jung, Seokwan Cheong and Young-Jun Yoon*
Sang Jin Lim1 , Hun Namgung2 , Nam Hyung Kim2 , Yeonsu Oh3* and Yung Chul Park2*