Chorological data for the main European woody species

Published: 12 May 2017 | Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/hr5h2hcgg4.2

Description of this data

The data are organized as a set of ESRI shapefiles (*.shp, *.shx, *.dbf, *.prj files) mapping the distribution ranges of the main European tree and shrub species. For each species and in some cases subspecies, one or more shapefiles have been created containing: a) polygon features (name suffix “plg”), which define continuous areas of occupancy of the species range and b) point features (name suffix “pnt”), which identify more fragmented and isolated populations. For species with reported synanthropic occurrences outside the natural range, an additional point and/or polygon shapefile has also been created (suffix “syn”). The polygon borders delimiting the range have been generalized across the mainland and sea boundaries. Clipping to a specific coastline has been avoided, as this can vary considerably in its geometry depending on scale and precision of the respective source. This offers the possibility to mask sea areas, or to clip and extract the species’ terrestrial range parts using GIS data layers of the users’ choice. Finally, an accompanying text document is included with the data, which provides more details on methodology and a list of all mapped species with related file names, taxonomical delimitation of the mapped species and references used to compile the respective chorological dataset.

Experiment data files

Steps to reproduce

The chorological maps found in printed publications were digitalized with a photo scanner and converted into high resolution images. Then, all the map images collected from physical books, from e-books in PDF or DJVU formats, or from web pages were imported into GIS software and geo-referenced by identifying control points on a coordinate grid (when it was present) or on prominent geographical features of large rivers, coastlines or country boundaries. In order to avoid excessive image distortions, the geo-referencing process was performed in the original projection of the source map, or in a similar one in cases where the projection was unknown. Then, the existing point and polygon geodatabases were imported and intersected with the digitalized maps. The general base maps were compared and evaluated with the more updated and detailed ones at country level and with available point/polygon data. Additionally, a digital elevation model (DEM) was used as background to provide information on the orography of the mapped areas. Finally, by comparing, evaluating and synthesizing the information of all different sources, continuous areas of occupancy of the species were drawn as polygons. Single or small concentrations of occurrence locations separated from the main continuity of the species range were considered as isolated populations and digitalized as point features instead of polygons. For those plant species occurring also outside the native ranges, the distribution area was digitalized separately as introduced and naturalized range (synanthropic). Moreover, when detailed information was available, their ranges were mapped separately.

Related links

This data is associated with the following publication:

Chorological maps for the main European woody species

Published in: Data in Brief

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Botany, Geographic Information Systems, Spatial Databases, Vegetation Mapping


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The files associated with this dataset are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

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This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. What does this mean? You can share, copy and modify this dataset so long as you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the CC BY license, and indicate if changes were made, but you may not do so in a way that suggests the rights holder has endorsed you or your use of the dataset. Note that further permission may be required for any content within the dataset that is identified as belonging to a third party.