Review of forest landscape models: types, methods, development and applications
Forest landscape models simulate forest change through time using spatially referenced data across a broad spatial scale (i.e. landscape scale) generally larger than a single forest stand. Spatial interactions between forest stands are a key component of such models. These models can incorporate other spatio-temporal processes such as natural disturbances (e.g. wildfires, urricanes, outbreaks of native and exotic invasive pests and diseases) and human influences (e.g. harvesting and commercial thinning, planting, fire suppression). The models are increasingly used as tools for studying forest management, ecological assessment, restoration planning, and climate change. In this paper, we define forest landscape models and discuss development, components, and types of the models. We also review commonly used methods and approaches of modeling forest landscapes, their application, and their strengths and weaknesses. New developments in computer sciences, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing technologies, decision-support systems, and geo-spatial statistics have provided opportunities for developing a new generation of forest landscape models that are increasingly valuable for ecological research, restoration planning and resource management.
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