2024 : 6 : 20
Morteza Naderi

Morteza Naderi

Academic rank: Associate Professor
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7578-4159
Education: PhD.
Faculty: Agriculture and Environment
Address: Arak University


Predicting invasion risk of raccoon Procyon lotor in Iran using environmental niche models
Alien species , Species distribution model Environmental variables
Journal Landscape and Ecological Engineering
Researchers Azita Farashi ، Morteza Naderi


The raccoon Procyon lotor (Linnaeus 1758) is a native species of North and Central America, but it can be also found as an alien species in parts of Europe and Asia. The raccoon’s flexibility and capability in coping with environmental changes have made it the most successful invader compared with other species. In 1991, a raccoon was recorded in Iran for the first time. Since then, knowledge about the distribution, expansion range, and influences of this species on native ecosystem has remained unclear. The importance of environmental variables for the distribution of raccoons might vary widely across different spatial resolutions; therefore, we developed a robust statistical framework to predict the raccoon distribution across different spatial resolutions in Iran. Our predictions made by species distribution models (ENFA, GARP, and MaxEnt) highlighted the importance of food availability at a small spatial resolution and water resources, settlements, and population density at a large spatial resolution. The models indicate particular areas, mostly located in forests and rangelands near to the Caspian Sea, that can be a potential habitat for raccoons. We observed that the distribution of the raccoon population in Iran almost entirely overlaps with protected areas, which consequently brings about some conflicts with conservation practices and management plans. It is therefore imperative that the local knowledge be strengthened to adequately respond to the threats posed by raccoon invasions of special protected lands.