Assessing Accuracy Methods of Species Distribution Models: AUC, Specificity, Sensitivity and the True Skill Statistic

Farzin Shabani, Lalit Kumar, Mohsen Ahmadi

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We aimed to assess different methods for evaluating performance accuracy in species distribution models based on the application of five types of bioclimatic models under three threshold selections to predict the distributions of eight different species in Australia, treated as an independent area. Five discriminatory correlative species distribution models (SDMs), were used to predict the species distributions of eight different plants. A global training data set, excluding the Australian locations, was used for model fitting. Four accuracy measurement methods were compared under three threshold selections of i) maximum sensitivity + specificity, ii) sensitivity = specificity and iii) predicted probability of 0.5 (default). Results showed that the choice of modeling methods had an impact on potential distribution predictions for an independent area. Examination of the four accuracy methods under-examined threshold selections demonstrated that TSS is a more realistic and practical method, in comparison with AUC, Sensitivity and Specificity. Accurate projection of the distribution of a species is extremely complex.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Journal of Human-Social Science: B Geography, Geo-Sciences, Environmental Science & Disaster Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2018. Farzin Shabani, Lalit Kumar & Mohsen Ahmadi. This is a research/review paper, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • AUC
  • TSS
  • bioclimatic model
  • correlative model


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