Ecological Niche Modeling for Predicting the Potential Geographic Distribution of Invasive Species. This invention uses a novel combination of computer programs and analytical techniques drawn from quantitative geography, artificial intelligence, and the emerging field of biodiversity informatics to provide a tool for predicting, analyzing, and strategizing against agricultural species invasions.
The invention is aimed at corporate and governmental agricultural applications, with the highest potential residing in its use as a resource allocation tool for combating accidental introductions of invasive species, as well as bio-terrorism scenario planning.
Based on information at hand regarding occurrences of a species, models of species' ecological niches are developed, and the projection of those models in the invaded or potentially invaded area provides a prediction of the species' potential distribution in the new area. The procedure requires only information on species' occurrences and geographic coverages for the native and invaded ranges. The latter are broadly available from a variety of sources, and the former can be obtained for most species. Hence, the approach is generally applicable to the great majority of species, even those that are rare or poorly known.
This new process offers the agricultural industry a variety of new functionalities including pest management and planning tools for growers, crop insurance risk management, investment management for commodity traders and food companies, inventory management and marketing tools for agrochemical companies, and R&D management for agricultural biotechnology companies. It may also be used to assist in the development of policies related to biological species and their management.
Current approaches combating invasive species consists of monitoring, detection, and reaction. The present invention provides a proactive method of predicting and addressing invasive species problems before they reach the stage of detection and reaction, minimizing costs related to damage and remediation.