Element Distribution Modeling: A Primer

Element Distribution Modeling: A PrimerGary Beauvais

This document is intended to introduce element distribution modeling (EDM) to an audience composed primarily of state Natural Heritage programs. It should be relevant to a more general audience as well, as it assumes only that the reader is a trained biologist with experience in managing field data on the occurrence of free-ranging organisms or their habitats (i.e., ecological communities), and has a working knowledge of statistics and geographic information systems (GIS). This document is not an exhaustive discussion of all aspects of EDM, which would require at least a textbook-sized treatment. It takes an explicitly practical focus - how to produce reliable predictive distribution maps using technology and techniques now available to, or efficiently developed by, state Natural Heritage program personnel and other professionals working in applied natural resource science. As with most scientific pursuits there is a lot of action at the theoretical frontier of EDM. Some is very interesting, some will certainly lead to profoundly better applications someday, and some is discussed herein. But the main objective here is facilitating the application of EDM today.

NatureServe Author(s)


  • Beauvais et al. 2006. Element Distribution Modeling: A Primer (http://www.natureserve.org/prodServices/pdf/EDM_white_paper_2.0.pdf)