The EMMA project


Multi-habitat model species and land planning




In European landscapes, the implementation of ecological network policies aims to improve the way in which biodiversity is integrated into land planning processes by reinforcing and extending existing protected zones to include areas which harbour more common forms of biodiversity.

In the Pays de la Loire region, the regional network highlights the importance of maintaining networks of hedgerows with their associated grasslands and ponds (known as “bocage” in France). In such mosaic landscapes, the definition of ecological continuity requires a detailed description of landscape structure (grassland, crop, woodland, hedge, pond, infrastructure, urban areas) as well as the influence of human activities. It is also important to identify appropriate biological models that will be sensitive to this structure. Amphibians, as “multihabitat” organisms could be suitable indicators.


We aim to propose suitable methods for describing landscape structure in mosaic landscapes and to test the relevance of the amphibian group as an indicator.

The models produced will be used to assess already-defined ecological networks, as well as implementation processes, using different regional ecological network case studies.

How ?

We are using different data sets (81,000 opportunistic data and 3,237 standardized data from 576 sites monitored in the context of a citizen science program) to establish and assess habitat suitability at regional scale for 9 species of amphibian commonly occurring in western France.

Additional fieldwork has been carried out to complete landscape gradients and areas covered by the citizen science datasets.

In terms of methodology, we are comparing different species distribution modelling approaches while trying to limit sampling bias inherent in citizen science datasets.

We will define ecological continuities for different species and establish multi-species maps through stacking of several species distribution models at regional scale.

In parallel, we are exploiting better quality amphibian and habitat data at pond and pond network scales in order to explore the relationships between landscape structure and permeability and amphibian communities at the finer scale.

Expected results

The final aim will be to produce maps of ecological continuity integrating both species distribution modelling approaches and spatial analysis of ecological connectivity, at varying spatial scales. We will examine how such maps could be used to improve conservation planning advice and will compare the priority areas we define to those currently protected by ecological network policy in France.

The main outcome of the study will be Florence Matutini’s doctoral thesis and associated publications.

With whom ?

This work is carried out in collaboration with local parties involved in citizen science programmes in Pays de la Loire and aims to utilise data collected by nature conservation organisations and volunteers.

Our main nature protection partners are CPIE and LPO and their volunteer networks.


Matutini, F., Baudry, J., Pain, G., Sineau, M. and Pithon, J. (2021) How citizen science could improve Species Distribution Models and their independent assessment. Ecology and Evolution, 11: 3028–3039. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3

Matutini, F., Baudry, J., Fortin, M.-J., Pain, G., Pithon, J. (2021) Integrating landscape resistance and multi-scale predictors of habitat selection for amphibian distribution modelling at large scale. Landscape Ecology, 36: 3557–3573.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-021-01327-2

Matutini, F. 2021. Conserver la biodiversité des régions fortement anthropisées : mobiliser différentes sources de données pour définir et compléter les réseaux écologiques. Cas des Amphibiens en Pays-de-la-Loire. Thèse de doctorat AGROCAMPUS OUEST, Ecole doctorale Ecologie, Géosciences, Agronomie et Alimentation Spécialité : Ecologie et Evolution. 217p.

BAGAP staff invovled

Florence Matutini, Jacques Baudry, Josephine Pithon & Guillaume Pain


  • Morgane SINEAU (CPIE Vallées de la Sarthe et du Loir)
  • Benoit MARCHADOUR (Coordination régionale LPO Pays de la Loire)


  • Angers Loire Metropole
  • Bourse écologie impliquée de la SFE2 (Société Française d’Ecologie et d’Evolution)

Modification date : 06 February 2023 | Publication date : 23 March 2020 | Redactor : UMR BAGAP