Maxent software for species habitat modeling

The Maxent software is based on the maximum-entropy approach for species habitat modeling. This software takes as input a set of layers or environmental variables (such as elevation, precipitation, etc.), as well as a set of georeferenced occurrence locations, and produces a model of the range of the given species. Maxent is a Java-based application and can be used on any computer running Java version 1.5 or later.


The model for a species is determined from a set of environmental or climate layers (or "coverages") for a set of grid cells in a landscape, together with a set of sample locations where the species has been observed.  The model expresses the suitability of each grid cell as a function of the environmental variables at that grid cell.  A high value of the function at a particular grid cell indicates that the grid cell is predicted to have suitable conditions for that species.  The computed model is a probability distribution over all the grid cells.  The distribution chosen is the one that has maximum entropy subject to some constraints: it must have the same expectation for each feature (derived from the environmental layers) as the average over sample locations.


Phillips, S., Dudik, M. & Schapire, R., 2011, “Maxent Software, ver. 3.3.3k”.


Phillips, S., Dudik, M. & Schapire, R.


This software may be freely downloaded and used for all educational and research activities.  In addition, this software may also be used for commercial or for-profit purposes.  For commercial applications, you are strongly encouraged to make a donation in the name of Maxent to a conservation non-profit, such as the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Nature Conservancy, or the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History.

Rights holder 

Phillips, S., Dudik, M. & Schapire, R.