Data from: Ecological niche modelling for conservation planning of an endemic snail in the verge of becoming a pest in cardamom plantations in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot
Sen, Sandeep et al. (2017), Data from: Ecological niche modelling for conservation planning of an endemic snail in the verge of becoming a pest in cardamom plantations in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bp683
Conservation managers and policy makers are often confronted with a challenging dilemma of devising suitable strategies to maintain agricultural productivity while conserving endemic species that at the early stages of becoming pests of agricultural crops. Identification of environmental factors conducive to species range expansion for forecasting species distribution patterns will play a central role in devising management strategies to minimize the conflict between the agricultural productivity and biodiversity conservation. Here, we present results of a study that predicts the distribution of Indrella ampulla, a snail endemic to the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, which is becoming a pest in cardamom (Ellettaria cardamomum) plantations. We determined the distribution patterns and niche overlap between I. ampulla and Ellettaria cardamomum using maximum entropy (MaxEnt) niche modeling techniques under current and future (2020–2080) climatic scenarios. The results showed that climatic (precipitation of coldest quarter and isothermality) and soil (cation exchange capacity of soil [CEC]) parameters are major factors that determine the distribution of I. ampulla in Western Ghats. The model predicted cardamom cultivation areas in southern Western Ghats are highly sensitive to invasion of I. ampulla under both present and future climatic conditions. While the land area in the central Western Ghats is predicted to become unsuitable for I. ampulla and Ellettaria cardamomum in future, we found 71% of the Western Ghats land area is suitable for Ellettaria cardamomum cultivation and 45% suitable for I. ampulla, with an overlap of 35% between two species. The resulting distribution maps are invaluable for policy makers and conservation managers to design and implement management strategies minimizing the conflicts to sustain agricultural productivity while maintaining biodiversity in the region.