Modelling in landscape ecology: New directions

Image by Archie Crofton @arckopolo

ialeUK 2017 Student Workshop

University of Edinburgh, 8th-9th May 2017


The 2017 student workshop provided students with a comprehensive overview of existing and emerging modelling techniques for landscape ecology, as well as outlining some potential exciting new directions for combining landscape ecological models.

Landscape ecology is the meeting point between a range of social and physical disciplines, exploring the relationships between landscape pattern and processes occurring on land, freshwater and sea.

Modelling can provide a vital tool to explore these relationships between process and pattern, as it allows large 'virtual experiments' to be run repeatedly, exploring effects that would be impossible to measure empirically. A recent paper (Synes et al. 2016) highlighted the significant progress that has been made over recent years at the intersection of landscape modelling and ecological modelling, and outlined exciting novel new directions that could be taken by combining different classes of landscape models and ecological models.

This two day workshop (8th - 9th May, ECCI, University of Edinburgh) comprised a combination of presentations from expert speakers, as well as opportunities to test out some models in practical sessions.

More information about the speakers and pdfs of their presentations from the workshop can be found here:

A SWOT analysis of the models was undertaken by both the speakers and participants. The collated analysis can be found here.

Recommended reading:


Palmer et al. (2011) Introducing a 'stochastic movement simulator' for estimating habitat connectivity. Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Bocedi et al. (2014) RangeShifter: a platform for modelling spatial eco-evolutionary dynamics and species responses to environmental changes. Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Synes et al. (2015) A multi-species modelling approach to examine the impact of alternative climate change adaptation stratgies on range shifting ability in a fragmented landscape. Ecological Informatics

Abel et al. (2016) The importance of realistic dispersal models in conservation planning: an application of a novel modelling platform to evaluate management scenarios in a Afrotropical biodiversity hotspot. Journal of Applied Ecology

Barros et al. (2016) Spread rates on fragmented landscapes: the interacting roles of demography, dispersal and habitat availability. Diversity and Distributions

Sun et al. (2016) Predicting and understanding spatio-temporal dynamics of species recovery: implications for Asian crested ibis conservation in China. Diversity and Distributions


Hodgson et al. (2010) Habitat re-creation strategies for promoting adaptation of species to climate change. Conservation Letters

Hodgson et al. (2012) The speed of range shifts in fragmented landscapes. PLOS ONE

Hodgson et al. (2016) How to manipulate landscapes to improve the potential for range expansion. Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Agent based modelling:

Polhill et al. (2011) Agent-based modelling of land use effects on ecosystem processes and services. Journal of Land Use Science