Biological invasions and land-use changes are two major causes of the global modifications of biodiversity. Habitat suitability models are the tools of choice to predict potential distributions of invasive species. Although land-use is a key driver of alien species invasions, it is often assumed that land-use is constant in time. Here we combine historical and present day information, to evaluate whether land-use changes could explain the dynamic of invasion of the American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana (=Lithobathes catesbeianus) in Northern Italy, from the 1950s to present-day. We used maxent to build habitat suitability models, on the basis of past (1960s, 1980s) and present-day data on land-uses and species distribution. For example, we used models built using the 1960s data to predict distribution in the 1980s, and so on. Furthermore, we used land-use scenarios to project suitability in the future. Habitat suitability models predicted well the spread of bullfrogs in the subsequent temporal step. Models considering land-use changes predicted invasion dynamics better than models assuming constant land-use over the last 50 years. Scenarios of future land-use suggest that suitability will remain similar in the next years. Habitat suitability models can help to understand and predict the dynamics of invasions; however, land-use is not constant in time: land-use modifications can strongly affect invasions; furthermore, both land management and the suitability of a given land-use class may vary in time. An integration of land-use changes in studies of biological invasions can help to improve management strategies.
KNOWING THE PAST TO PREDICT THE FUTURE: LAND-USE CHANGE AND THE SPREAD OF INVASIVE BULLFROGS / Ficetola, F; Maiorano, Luigi; Falcucci, Alessandra; N., Dendoncker; Boitani, Luigi; E., PADOA SCHIOPPA; C., Miaud; W., Thuiller. - In: GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY. - ISSN 1354-1013. - STAMPA. - 16:2(2010), pp. 528-537. [10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01957.x]