A precise knowledge of the spatial distribution of taxa is essential for decision-making processes in land management and biodiversity conservation, both for present and under future global change scenarios. For European amphibians and reptiles, the last comprehensive compilation of their distribution was the atlas by Gasc et al. published in 1997 by the Societas Europaea Herpetologica (SEH). The maps of this standard work have however not been made available in digital formats suitable for analysis in geographic information systems, and due to taxonomic progress and intensified mapping efforts at regional and national levels, are partly outdated. As a first step to an interactive atlas grounded on a distributed database of records (http://na2re.ismai.pt/
) the mapping committee of SEH has compiled a dataset of over 384 000 grid and locality records distributed across 40 European countries. In a paper published in Amphibia-Reptilia we analyze these data from a biogeographical perspective and, most importantly, identify taxonomic and spatial gaps of knowledge which require intensified research. To stimulate further mapping and research projects, the preliminary maps for all European amphibian and reptile species are made available open-access on the journal webpage of Amphibia-Reptilia
and are also available from the link below, including GIS-shapefiles for free use.
Sillero, N., J. Campos, A. Bonardi, C. Corti, R. Creemers, P.-A. Crochet, J. Crnobrnja Isailovic, M. Denoël, G. F. Ficetola, J. Gonçalves, S. Kuzmin, P. Lymberakis, P. de Pous, A. Rodríguez, R. Sindaco, J. Speybroeck, B. Toxopeus, D.R. Vieites, M. Vences (2014): Updated distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Europe. Amphibia-Reptilia 35: 1-31. (download PDF with all supplements - 40 MB)