Textured species range maps enhance interdisciplinary science capacity across scales

Nyeema Harris and 3 other contributors

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    Range maps are critical for understanding and conserving biodiversity, but current range maps often omit important context, negating the dynamism and variation of populations, environmental conditions, and ecological attributes to functionally oversimplify biogeography theory. Moreover, the gross underrepresentation of spatial heterogeneity throughout a species distribution limits the utility of range maps in decision making and for community engagement, weakening applications to disciplines outside the natural sciences. As climate change and other anthropogenic factors outpace our understanding of their impacts, robust and informative range maps for species will be critical in anticipating how environmental changes affect coupled ecological, evolutionary, and social processes. Here, we highlight the expansion of "flat" range maps by adding "texture", which can represent a myriad of conditions that are spatially explicit across a species range. Using examples of variations (in human pressures, presence of competitor species, and extent of Indigenous lands) as texture, we demonstrate how range maps can address broader questions and promote enhanced capacity for interdisciplinary research.