Habitat suitability map of Ixodes ricinus tick in France using multi-criteria analysis

Submitted: 22 November 2021
Accepted: 14 April 2022
Published: 17 May 2022
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The tick Ixodes ricinus is widely distributed across Europe and is responsible for the transmission of several pathogens to humans and animals. In this study, we used a knowledge-based method to map variations in habitat suitability for I. ricinus ticks throughout continental France and Corsica. The multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) integrated four major biotic and abiotic factors known to influence tick populations: climate, land cover, altitude and the density of wild ungulates. For each factor, habitat suitability index (HSI) values were attributed to different locations based on knowledge regarding its impact on tick populations. For the MCDA, two methods of factor combination were tested, additive and multiplicative, both which were evaluated at the spatial scales of departments and local municipalities. The resulting habitat suitability maps (resolution=100x100 m) revealed that conditions are suitable for I. ricinus over most of France and Corsica. Particularly suitable habitats were located in central, north-eastern and south-western France, while less-suitable habitats were found in the Mediterranean and mountainous regions. To validate the approach, the HSI scores were compared to field data of I. ricinus nymph abundance. Regardless of scale, the correlation between abundance indicator and HSI score was stronger for the additive than for the multiplicative approach. Overall, this study demonstrates the value of MCDA for estimating habitat suitability maps for I. ricinus abundance, which could be especially useful in highlighting areas of the tick’s distribution where preventive measures should be prioritised.

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How to Cite

Lebert, I., Bord, S. ., Saint-Andrieux, C., Cassar, E., Gasqui, P., Beugnet, F., Chalvet-Monfray, K., Vanwambeke, S. O., Vourc’h, G., & René-Martellet, M. (2022). Habitat suitability map of <em>Ixodes ricinus</em> tick in France using multi-criteria analysis. Geospatial Health, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/gh.2022.1058