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Data from: A land classification protocol for pollinator ecology research: an urbanisation case study

Cite this dataset

Samuelson, Ash E.; Leadbeater, Ellouise (2019). Data from: A land classification protocol for pollinator ecology research: an urbanisation case study [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Land-use change is one of the most important drivers of widespread declines in pollinator populations. Comprehensive quantitative methods for land classification are critical to understanding these effects, but co-option of existing human-focussed land classifications is often inappropriate for pollinator research. 2. Here we present a flexible GIS-based land classification protocol for pollinator research using a bottom-up approach driven by reference to pollinator ecology, with urbanisation as a case study. Our multi-step method involves manually generating land cover maps at multiple biologically relevant radii surrounding study sites using GIS, with a focus on identifying land cover types that have a specific relevance to pollinators. This is followed by a three-step refinement process using statistical tools: 1) definition of land-use categories, 2) Principal Components Analysis (PCA) on the categories and 3) cluster analysis to generate a categorical land-use variable for use in subsequent analysis. Model selection is then used to determine the appropriate spatial scale for analysis. 3. We demonstrate an application of our protocol using a case study of 38 sites across a gradient of urbanisation in South-East England. In our case study, the land classification generated a categorical land-use variable at each of four radii based on the clustering of sites with different degrees of urbanisation, open land and flower-rich habitat. 4. Studies of land-use effects on pollinators have historically employed a wide array of land classification techniques from descriptive and qualitative to complex and quantitative. We suggest that land-use studies in pollinator ecology should broadly adopt GIS-based multi-step land classification techniques to enable robust analysis and aid comparative research. Our protocol offers a customizable approach that combines specific relevance to pollinator research with the potential for application to a wide range of ecological questions, including agroecological studies of pest control.

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