An innovative computer design for modeling forest landscape change in very large spatial extents with fine resolutions

Jian Yang, Hong S. He, Stephen R. Shifley, Frank R. Thompson, Yangjian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Although forest landscape models (FLMs) have benefited greatly from ongoing advances of computer technology and software engineering, computing capacity remains a bottleneck in the design and development of FLMs. Computer memory overhead and run time efficiency are primary limiting factors when applying forest landscape models to simulate large landscapes with fine spatial resolutions and great vegetation detail. We introduce LANDIS PRO 6.0, a landscape model that simulates forest succession and disturbances on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. LANDIS PRO 6.0 improves on existing forest landscape models with two new data structures and algorithms (hash table and run-length compression). The innovative computer design enables LANDIS PRO 6.0 to simulate very large (>108ha) landscapes with a 30-m spatial resolution, which to our knowledge no other raster forest landscape models can do. We demonstrate model behavior and performance through application to five nested forest landscapes with varying sizes (from 1 million to 100 million 0.09-ha cells) in the southern Missouri Ozarks. The simulation results showed significant and variable effects of changing spatial extent on simulated forest succession patterns. Results highlighted the utility of a model like LANDIS PRO 6.0 that is capable of efficiently simulating large landscapes and scaling up forest landscape processes to a common regional scale of analysis. The programming methodology presented here may significantly advance the development of next generation of forest landscape models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2623-2630
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 10 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding support for this research came from the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station , Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS; Grant No. 09YBR211SS ), and the Project KZCX2-YW-444. We thank William Dijak for his help in GIS data processing and Dr. Robert Keane and anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments that have greatly improved this manuscript. LANDIS PRO 6.0 can be downloaded at∼umcsnrlandis/ .


  • Data structure
  • Forest landscape model
  • Scaling
  • Simulation extent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'An innovative computer design for modeling forest landscape change in very large spatial extents with fine resolutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this