Predictive distribution models to four species of mammals (Cingulata, Artiodactyla and Rodentia) typical of the Argentinean Chaco
Catagonus, Maxent, Pediolagus, Priodontes, Tolypeutes
The rapid environmental changes caused by man make necessary the detailed study of the geographic range of species. At present, the Argentine Chaco is one of the ecoregions with the highest con- version rates, which has placed its mammals in a difficult position from a conservation point of view. By modeling the potential distribution using the Maxent software, in this paper we study the set of environmental variables most relevant in predicting the current distribution of Catagonus wagneri, Pediolagus salinicola, Priodontes maximus and Tolypeutes matacus. We also report potential distribution obtained on the basis of two cutoff thresholds. These assumptions are discussed in order to approximate the actual distribution and evaluate its implications in a conservation context. The number of explanatory variables involved in the adjustment of the models did not exceed seven, slope and precipitation of driest month being the most frequently selected. Models performed well, with AUC values greater than 0.79. None of the modeled species showed a percentage of range greater than 30% of the total study area and in all cases less than 3% is included within protected areas. C. wagneri is the species with the smallest predicted range, showing a disjunct distribution with four main patches located in the arid Chaco region.