This chapter focuses on the conceptual and applied aspects of environmental data in the context of building and interpreting ecological niche models. It first examines how different suites of environmental factors may affect species distributions across a range of spatial scales before discussing which and how many variables are needed for ecological niche modeling. It then reviews the diverse sources of environmental datasets that are of potential utility in ecological niche modeling and concludes by considering a number of challenges involved in designing and choosing environmental data for ecological niche modeling. These challenges include data preparation, data quality, spatial extent, resolution in space and time, types of environmental data, and ancillary data.
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