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Native range estimates for red-listed vascular plants


Borgelt, Jan; Sicacha-Parada, Jorge; Skarpaas, Olav; Verones, Francesca (2022), Native range estimates for red-listed vascular plants, Dryad, Dataset,


Besides being central for understanding both global biodiversity patterns and associated anthropogenic impacts, species range maps are currently only available for a small subset of global biodiversity. Here, we provide a set of assembled spatial data for terrestrial vascular plants listed at the global IUCN red list. The dataset consists of pre-defined native regions for 47,675 species, density of available native occurrence records for 30,906 species, and standardized, large-scale Maxent predictions for 27,208 species, highlighting environmentally suitable areas within species’ native regions. The data was generated in an automated approach consisting of data scraping and filtering, variable selection, model calibration and model selection. Generated Maxent predictions were validated by comparing a subset to available expert-drawn range maps from IUCN (n = 4,257), as well as by qualitatively inspecting predictions for randomly selected species. We expect this data to serve as a substitute whenever expert-drawn species range maps are not available for conducting large-scale analyses on biodiversity patterns and associated anthropogenic impacts.


The dataset includes spatial data for 47,675 species at different levels of detail. In total, range estimates (i.e. relative environmental suitability within native regions) have been predicted for 27,208 species using maximum entropy modelling (Maxent), for 30,906 species native occurrence records from the global biodiversity information facility (GBIF) are provided, and for 47,675 species the spatial extent of its native regions, retrieved from Plants of the World online and based on the world geographical scheme for recording plant distributions (WGSRPD), is provided.

Usage Notes

All gathered and generated data are stored in netCDF files and can be called by specifying a varname. The suggested data is stored in folder basic, containing two netCDF files (default output and raw output). These files assemble the best performing Maxent prediction (varname: Maxent prediction) for each species selected based on the highest harmonic mean between AUC and AUCPR, along with number of occurrence records per cell (varname: Presence cells) and rasterized native WGSRPD-regions (varname: Native region).

The folder advanced contains two netCDF files (default output and raw output). These files contain one Maxent prediction for each occurrence data type (varname: Model 1, Model 2 or Model 3), instead of best performing Maxent prediction (i.e. varname Maxent prediction is not applicable). Number of occurrence records per cell (varname: Presence cells) and rasterized native WGSRPD-regions (varname: Native region) are identical to the data stored in the folder basic.

Each band in all netCDF files assembles the mentioned variables for one species. The corresponding bands can be looked up in the corresponding metadata (i.e. speciesID). Furthermore, the metadata can be used to select appropriate cut-off thresholds for generating binary range maps, filter models based on species, performance, or desired datatypes, and to lookup the relevant study extent for masking individual predictions.