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Sangermano F, Bol L, Galvis P, Gullison R, Hardner J, Ross G (2015)
Applied Geography 63 55-65.
Hispaniola Island has both a high level of amphibian endemism, and a high level of habitat degradation due to agriculture, infrastructure development, and extractive industries. The objective of this work was to evaluate the capacity of Dominican Republic's current network of protection to maintain the habitat of four species of amphibians endemic to Hispaniola (Osteopilus pulchrilineatus, Osteopilus vastus, Hypsiboas heilprini, and Eleutherodactylus flavescens). Spatial analysis was performed to relate observations of the target species to environmental factors using a maximum entropy algorithm (Maxent). Results of this analysis produced maps of probability of occurrence for each species. Analysis of habitat degradation was based on a change analysis of vegetation, by evaluating trends in the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) between 2000 and 2011. Results show that forest loss and species habitat loss within protected areas are smaller but similar to those extracted for the country as a whole, suggesting that the current protected area network is not effective for the maintenance of the habitat of the amphibians analyzed. Enforcement of established protection and restoration within current protected areas could facilitate the protection of up to 25.7% of target amphibian habitat. The methodologies presented here can be applied to measure biodiversity offset effectiveness.
Keywords: Amphibians, Dominican Republic, Maxent, NDVI, Protected areas, Species distribution modeling