LandMod is a grid-based forest landscape change simulator developed for western Oregon. LandMod simulates the dynamics of live trees and dead wood over large spatial extents (18,000+ ha) and temporal periods (500+ yrs) at relatively fine spatial scales (>0.04-ha) in an efficient manner. At the core of the simulator is a unique forest projection model that tracks individual tree species by 5-cm size classes on a 5-yr time step. Enveloped around this core are modules that simulate anthropogenic and natural disturbance processes. All processes are spatially integrated to accommodate dynamic feedbacks over time and space.
The intended use of LandMod is to aid in the assessment of land-management strategies and in landscape-scale research. Alternative land-use strategies can be simulated and compared in terms of timber production and landscape structure. Assumptions related to the long-term responses of key ecosystem properties (carbon sequestration, habitat diversity, wood delivery to streams) to landscape change can be investigated with modeled experiments. Like most landscape simulators, LandMod is best used to explore the relative differences among land-use strategies, and as a heuristic tool for pattern-process research studies.
LandMod differs from other landscape simulators with the integration of three important features: 1) The forest dynamics module of LandMod is based on a forest gap model and thus, has the ability to model trees of any size over long-time frames (500+ yrs). 2) LandMod is designed to operate at a relatively fine spatial scale over a large spatial extent. This fine-scale approach allows reasonable predictions at scales of proposed regional, forest management options (e.g., 0.25-ha leave islands), of relevant natural disturbance processes (e.g., wildfire effects), and of processes influencing key ecosystem properties (e.g., tree fall into streams). Additionally, higher-order processes (e.g., wildfire spread, seed dispersal) are directly integrated in the simulation of fine-scale processes. 3) LandMod simulates processes dynamically. Landscape trajectories are not based on look-up tables or pre-conceived pathways, but instead develop in response to feedbacks among climatic conditions, landscape pattern, and disturbances.