PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (1): 35-46.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.01.005

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Advances in forest landscape modeling: Current research and applications

Weimin XI1,2(), Erfu DAI3, Hongshi HE4,5   

  1. 1. Department of Biological and Health Sciences, Texas A&M University, Kingsville TX 78363, USA
    2. Institute of Applied Ecology, CAS, Shenyang 110016, China
    3. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
    5. School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia MO 65211, USA
  • Online:2016-01-31 Published:2016-01-31


Forest landscape models simulate temporal change of forests using spatially referenced data across a broad spatial scale (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 spatiotemporal processes such as natural disturbances (e.g., wildfires, hurricanes, 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 examining the impact of climate change. In this article, we define forest landscape models and discuss their development, components, and types. We also review commonly used methods and approaches in modeling, their applications, and the strengths and limitations of different forest landscape models. New developments in computer sciences, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing technologies, decision-support systems, and geo-spatial statistics have provided opportunities for developing new generations of forest landscape models that are more valuable in ecological research, restoration planning, and resource management.

Key words: forest landscape change, landscape models, temporal and spatial scales, forest management and planning, resource conservation and restoration, decision-making models