Ensemble forecasting of species distributions

Concern over implications of climate change for biodiversity has led to the use of bioclimatic models to forecast the range shifts of species under future climate-change scenarios. Recent studies have demonstrated that projections by alternative models can be so variable as to compromise their usefulness for guiding policy decisions. Here, we advocate the use of multiple models within an ensemble forecasting framework and describe alternative approaches to the analysis of bioclimatic ensembles, including bounding box, consensus and probabilistic techniques. We argue that, although improved accuracy can be delivered through the traditional tasks of trying to build better models with improved data, more robust forecasts can also be achieved if ensemble forecasts are produced and analysed appropriately.