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Land Use Plus (LU+) Extension

Incorporate a sequence of maps depicting changes in land use or land cover into LANDIS-II simulations.

Custodians: Erin Simon-Legaard, University of Maine, Jonathan Thompson, Harvard University, Alex Vyushkov, University of Notre Dame
Latest release: Version 2.0 — Coming soon! (Download)
View Users Guide (PDF)

Brief Description:

This extension allows users to incorporate a sequence of maps depicting changes in land use or land cover into LANDIS-II simulations. Maps can be developed manually in a Geographic Information System, or derived from an external program (e.g., Dynamica). Map values correspond to land use or land cover classes, and a change in map value at a site from one time step to the next indicates a change in land use or land cover.

With the extension, the user can model how cohorts will be removed if a change in the land use or land cover results in forest loss or disturbance. In the input text file where map values are identified, the user specifies the species to be removed, species to be planted, or if establishment of new cohorts is prevented.These capabilities can be used to simulate, for example, total removal of cohorts and prevention of establishment of new cohorts as a result of a site being converted from forest to developed land. In addition, users can also specify whether or not a change in land use or land cover removes a site from consideration for timber harvesting in subsequent time steps, for example, as in the case of a new conservation easement or forest preserve being established.

Lineage: This extension is another phase in the evolution of simulating land use (LU) change with LANDIS-II. Initially, modelers used the Harvest extensions to simulate particular LU changes (Thompson et al 2011). They used the set-aside aspect of repeat harvests to simulate conservation and/or development. To facilitate this new application of the Harvest extensions, the PreventEstablishment keyword was added.

Eventually, modelers reached the limits of trying to simulate both harvest management and LU change with an extension originally designed for just the former purpose. Those limitations motivated Jonathan Thompson and his collaborators to create custom Development extensions derived from the Harvest extensions. They used these extensions to simulate land use scenarios in Massachusetts (Thompson et al, 2014).

The experience with those Development extensions informed the current work to develop this more general-purpose LU extension.

How to cite:

Thompson, J. R., Simons-Legaard, E., Legaard, K. R. & Domingo, J. B. 2016. A LANDIS-II extension for incorporating land use and other disturbances. Environmental Software and Modeling. 75, 202–205.


Thompson, J. R., K. Fallon-Lambert, D. R. Foster, M. Blumstein, E. N. Broadbent, and A. M. Almeyda Zambrano. 2014. Changes to the Land: Four Scenarios for the Future of the Massachusetts Landscape. Harvard Forest, Harvard University. ISBN:978-0615-9852-68.

Thompson, J. R., D. R. Foster, R. Scheller, D. B. Kittredge. 2011. The influence of land use and climate change on forest biomass and composition in Massachusetts, USA. Ecological Applications 21:2425–44.

Alexander Vyushkov,
Jul 2, 2015, 12:53 PM
Alexander Vyushkov,
Apr 6, 2016, 1:11 PM