Geospatial tools address emerging issues in spatial ecology: a review and commentary on the Special Issue
biodiversity, environmental change, GIS, Remote sensing, Spatial ecology, species distribution models, temporal processes
Spatial ecology focuses on the role of space and time in ecological processes and events from a local to a global scale and is particularly relevant in developing environmental policy and (mandated) monitoring goals. In other words, spatial ecology is where geography and ecology intersect, and high-quality geospatial data and analysis tools are required to address emerging issues in spatial ecology. In this commentary and review for the International Journal of GIS Special Issue on Spatial Ecology, we highlight selected current research priorities in spatial ecology and describe geospatial data and methods for addressing these tasks. Geoinformation research themes are identified in population ecology, community and landscape ecology, and ecosystem ecology, and these themes are further linked to the assessment of ecosystem services. Methods in spatial ecology benefit from explicit consideration of spatial autocorrelation, and applications discussed in this review include species distribution modeling, remote sensing of community and ecosystem properties, and models of climate change. The linkages of the Special Issue papers to these emerging issues are described.