Is there value in reviewing distribution models? A case study using critical weight range mammals in southeastern Australia.
Models predicting species distributions have become a common tool for wildlife management. These models were used extensively in the development of regional forest agreements (RFAs) throughout Australia. Each RFA is reviewed after it has been active for five years and one component of this may be to review the distribution models. Over this time there has been an increase in the number of records for many species and improvements in statistical modelling techniques. Here we prepare updated distributional models for three critical weight range mammals in the Eden Management Region in south-eastern NSW. These models are then used to examine the value of updating models for selected species during the RFA review process. All revised models predicted greater areas of habitat as suitable, largely due to the greater number of known localities. The relative value of many sites changed thus highlighting areas which require further or more intensive survey work. This study suggests that there is value in preparing models for some species during the RFA review process. For many species updating models can also be valuable in the development of specific research objectives or species recovery planning.