Biotic and abiotic factors are increasingly acknowledged to synergistically shape broad-scale species distributions. However, the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors in predicting species distributions is unclear. In particular, biotic factors, such as predation and vegetation, including those resulting from anthropogenic land-use change, are underrepresented in species distribution modeling, but could improve model predictions. Using generalized linear models and model selection techniques, we used 129 estimates of population density of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) from 5 continents to evaluate the relative importance, magnitude, and direction of biotic and abiotic factors in predicting population density of an invasive large mammal with a global distribution. Incorporating diverse biotic factors, including agriculture, vegetation cover, and large carnivore richness, into species distribution modeling substantially improved model fit and predictions. Abiotic factors, including precipitation and potential evapotranspiration, were also important predictors. The predictive map of population density revealed wide-ranging potential for an invasive large mammal to expand its distribution globally. This information can be used to proactively create conservation/management plans to control future invasions. Our study demonstrates that the ongoing paradigm shift, which recognizes that both biotic and abiotic factors shape species distributions across broad scales, can be advanced by incorporating diverse biotic factors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas