Spatial Extrapolation: The Science of Predicting Ecological Patterns and Processes

  • Miller J
  • Turner M
  • Smithwick E
 et al. 
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Ecologists are often asked to con tribute to solutions for broadscale problems. The extent of most ecological research is relatively limited, however, necessitating extrapolation to broader scales or to new locations. Spatial extrapolation in ecology tends to follow a general framework in which (a) the objectives are defined and a conceptual model is derived; (b) a statistical or simulation model is developed to generate predictions, possibly entailing scaling functions when extrapolating to broad scales, and (c) the results are evaluated against new data. In this article, we examine the application of this framework in a variety of contexts, using examples from the scientific literature. We conclude by discussing the challenges, limitations, and future prospects for extrapolation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • evaluation
  • extrapolation
  • modeling
  • prediction
  • scale

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  • James R. Miller

  • Monica G. Turner

  • Erica a. H. Smithwick

  • C. Lisa Dent

  • Emily H. Stanley

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