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Title: Rethinking ecological niches and geographic distributions in face of pervasive human influence in the Anthropocene

Species are distributed in predictable ways in geographic spaces. The three principal factors that determine geographic distributions of species are biotic interactions (B), abiotic conditions (A), and dispersal ability or mobility (M). A species is expected to be present in areas that are accessible to it and that contain suitable sets of abiotic and biotic conditions for it to persist. A species' probability of presence can be quantified as a combination of responses toB,A, andMviaecological niche modeling (ENM; also frequently referred to as species distribution modeling or SDM). This analytical approach has been used broadly in ecology and biogeography, as well as in conservation planning and decision‐making, but commonly in the context of ‘natural’ settings. However, it is increasingly recognized that human impacts, including changes in climate, land cover, and ecosystem function, greatly influence species' geographic ranges. In this light, historical distinctions between natural and anthropogenic factors have become blurred, and a coupled human–natural landscape is recognized as the new norm. Therefore,B,A, andM(BAM) factors need to be reconsidered to understand and quantify species' distributions in a world with a pervasive signature of human impacts. Here, we present a framework, termed human‐influenced BAM (Hi‐BAM, for distributional ecology that (i) conceptualizes human impacts in the form of six drivers, and (ii) synthesizes previous studies to show how each driver modifies the natural BAM and species' distributions. Given the importance and prevalence of human impacts on species distributions globally, we also discuss implications of this framework for ENM/SDM methods, and explore strategies by which to incorporate increasing human impacts in the methodology. Human impacts are redefining biogeographic patterns; as such, future studies should incorporate signals of human impacts integrally in modeling and forecasting species' distributions.

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Publisher / Repository:
Cambridge Philosophical Society
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Journal Name:
Biological Reviews
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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