We use Global Environmental Stratification (Metzger et al., 2013a) with ecological niche models to map environmental suitability of the lion under current and palaeoclimatic scenarios. A Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) ecological niche modelling approach is used in conjunction with the production of Global Environmental Stratification Strata/Zones (Metzger et al., 2013a; Metzger et al., 2013b; Soteriades et al., 2017) to explore the extent of lion distributions through the Late Pleistocene and Holocene under different climatic scenarios. Interpreting ecological niche modelling projections of novel climates can be challenging due to the complexity of considering the combined effects of multiple continuous input variables. However, outputs from niche model habitat suitability maps are not necessarily intuitive or meaningful to the end user (Baldwin, 2009; Merow, Smith & Silander, 2013). By examining modelled lion range in terms of Global Environmental Stratification (GEnS) (Metzger et al., 2013a), we characterise the bioclimatic niche of the lion in a descriptive manner. The methods described here are presented graphically within Fig. 1

Bioclimatic variables from the present day, mid-Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum are clustered into Global Environmental Zones (GEnZ) and Strata (GEnS). The same bioclimatic variables are used in conjunction with lion localities to produce a MaxEnt lion suitability threshold model for the present day. Global Environmental Strata are then classified by suitability for the lion and displayed for each time period in terms of favourability. This method enables the production of habitat suitability maps within a descriptive bioclimatic framework.

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