Emerging Opportunities for Landscape Ecological Modelling

Nicholas W. Synes, Calum Brown, Kevin Watts, Steven M White, Mark A. Gilbert, Justin M. J. Travis

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Landscape ecological modelling provides a vital means for understanding the interactions between geographical, climatic, and socio-economic drivers of land-use and the dynamics of ecological systems. This growing field is playing an increasing role in informing landscape spatial planning and management. Here, we review the key modelling approaches that are used in landscape modelling and in ecological modelling. We identify an emerging theme of increasingly detailed representation of process in both landscape and ecological modelling, with complementary suites of modelling approaches ranging from correlative, through aggregated process based approaches to models with much greater structural realism that often represent behaviours at the level of agents or individuals. We provide examples of the considerable progress that has been made at the intersection of landscape modelling and ecological modelling, while also highlighting that the majority of this work has to date exploited a relatively small number of the possible combinations of model types from each discipline. We use this review to identify key gaps in existing landscape ecological modelling effort and highlight emerging opportunities, in particular for future work to progress in novel directions by combining classes of landscape models and ecological models that have rarely been used together.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146–167
Number of pages22
JournalCurrent Landscape Ecology Reports
Issue number4
Early online date31 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • landscape ecology
  • pattern
  • process
  • simulation modelling
  • socio-ecological systems


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