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About LANDIS Landscape Disturbance and Succession model

Contact: Brian Sturtevant and Eric Gustafson

LANDIS is designed to model forest succession, disturbance (including fire, wind, harvesting, insects, global change), and seed dispersal across large (>1 million ha) landscapes.  LANDIS represents landscapes as a grid of cells and tracks age cohorts of each species (presence/absence or biomass) rather than individual trees.  LANDIS simulates distinct ecological processes, allowing complex interactions to play out as emergent properties of the simulation.


LANDIS development began in the early 1990s under the direction of Dr. David Mladenoff, with partial funding from the Northern Research Station, Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Dr. Hong He joined the team in the late 1990s followed by Dr. Robert Scheller several years later. There are two currently supported versions of LANDIS which were developed with primary funding from the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service.

LANDIS 4.0 is a fully modular software product with improved fire simulation and new capabilities for simulating fuel accumulation and decomposition and disturbance by biological agents such as insects and disease. Dr. He led the development of this version at the University of Missouri in collaboration with the Northern Research Station in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

LANDIS-II is a completely re-engineered version developed at the Forest Landscape Ecology Laboratory, University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Northern Research Station in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. LANDIS-II was designed to advance forest landscape simulation modeling in many respects. Most significantly, LANDIS-II

  • allows for the incorporation of ecosystem processes and states (e.g., live biomass accumulation) at broad spatial scales
  • has flexible time steps for every process,
  • and uses an advanced architecture that will significantly increase collaborative potential.

Some LANDIS-II Features:

  • Variable time steps (1 - 40 years) for each extension (disturbance, succession, and output), to be determined by the user.  Users can mix-and-match time steps. For example: succession could be decadal and fire annual or both succession and fire could run at an annual time step.
  • Calculation of aboveground live and dead biomass will be encapsulated within an optional extension. An extension that is logically consistent with the original LANDIS cohort structure (species-age) will remain available.
  • A re-organized and simplified user interface. This includes new formats for inputting initial landscape data, new file formats for managing scenarios, and new file formats for user input data. Input data will be extensively and automatically checked for errors. A graphical user interface will be provided in 2007.
  • An on-line database of extensions will be available for download. Browse for new or updated extensions, share your extensions, etc.
  • Programmed natively as separate modules, allowing rapid development of new or alternative extensions (modules) for disturbance, reproduction/seed dispersal, succession, and output.
  • Extensions are dynamically loadable (aka Plug-and-Play). Compilation is not necessary to use new or different extensions. Nor is compilation necessary to add new variables to the landscape, new species variables, or new ecoregion variables.
  • Developed using a standardized development method (Unified Process) and rigorous unit testing.
  • LANDIS-II is open source.

Documentation and Downloads

Software Availability

LANDIS 4.0 Software is available from the School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri at

LANDIS II Software is available from the Forest Ecology Laboratory, University of Wisconsin at

LANDIS Related Publications

Central Hardwoods ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework projectBrandt, Leslie; He, Hong; Iverson, Louis; Thompson, Frank R.; Butler, Patricia; Handler, Stephen; Janowiak, Maria; Shannon, P. Danielle; Swanston, Chris; Albrecht, Matthew; Blume-Weaver, Richard; Deizman, Paul; DePuy, John; Dijak, William D.; Dinkel, Gary; Fei, Songlin; Jones-Farrand, D. Todd; Leahy, Michael; Matthews, Stephen; Nelson, Paul; Oberle, Brad; Perez, Judi; Peters, Matthew; Prasad, Anantha; Schneiderman, Jeffrey E.; Shuey, John; Smith, Adam B.; Studyvin, Charles; Tirpak, John M.; Walk, Jeffery W.; Wang, Wen J.; Watts, Laura; Weigel, Dale; Westin, Steve.2014
LANDIS PRO: a landscape model that predicts forest composition and structure changes at regional scalesWang, Wen J.; He, Hong S.; Fraser, Jacob S.; Thompson, Frank R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Spetich, Martin A.2014
Michigan forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework projectHandler, Stephen; Duveneck, Matthew J.; Iverson, Louis; Peters, Emily; Scheller, Robert M.; Wythers, Kirk R.; Brandt, Leslie; Butler, Patricia; Janowiak, Maria; Shannon, P. Danielle; Swanston, Chris; Eagle, Amy Clark; Cohen, Joshua G.; Corner, Rich; Reich, Peter B.; Baker, Tim; Chhin, Sophan; Clark, Eric; Fehringer, David; Fosgitt, Jon; Gries, James; Hall, Christine; Hall, Kimberly R.; Heyd, Robert; Hoving, Christopher L.; Iba?ez, Ines; Kuhr, Don; Matthews, Stephen; Muladore, Jennifer; Nadelhoffer, Knute; Neumann, David; Peters, Matthew; Prasad, Anantha; Sands, Matt; Swaty, Randy; Wonch, Leiloni; Daley, Jad; Davenport, Mae; Emery, Marla R.; Johnson, Gary; Johnson, Lucinda; Neitzel, David; Rissman, Adena; Rittenhouse, Chadwick; Ziel, Robert.2014
Modeling forest mortality caused by drought stress: implications for climate changeGustafson, Eric J; Sturtevant, Brian R.2013
Landscape Builder: software for the creation of initial landscapes for LANDIS from FIA dataDijak, William.2013
Scaling Aspen-FACE experimental results to century and landscape scalesGustafson, Eric J.; Kubiske, Mark E.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Miranda, Brian R.2013
Comparing modern and presettlement forest dynamics of a subboreal wilderness: Does spruce budworm enhance fire risk?Sturtevant, Brian R; Miranda, Brian R; Shinneman, Douglas J; Gustafson, Eric J; Wolter, Peter T.2012
Simulating the interactions of forest structure, fire regime, and plant invasion in the southern Appalachians using LANDISXi, Weimin; Chen, Szu-Hung; Birt, Andrew G.; Waldron, John D.; Lafon, Charles W.; Cairns, David M.; Tchakerian, Maria D.; Klepzig, Kier D.; Coulson, Robert N.2011
Ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the Climate Change Response Framework Project in northern WisconsinSwanston, Chris; Janowiak, Maria; Iverson, Louis; Parker, Linda; Mladenoff, David; Brandt, Leslie; Butler, Patricia; St. Pierre, Matt; Prasad, Anantha; Matthews, Stephen; Peters, Matthew; Higgins, Dale; Dorland, Avery.2011
Chapter 13 Application of landscape and habitat suitability models to conservation: the Hoosier National Forest land-management planRittenhouse, Chadwick D.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Dijak, William D.; Fan, Zhaofei; Thompson, Frank R., III; Millspaugh, Joshua J.; Perez, Judith A.; Sandeno, Cynthia M.2011
Effectiveness of forest management strategies to mitigate effects of global change in south-central SiberiaGustafson, Eric J.; Shvidenko, Anatoly Z.; Scheller, Robert M.2011
Evaluating the effects of alternative forest management plans under various physiographic settings using historical records as a referenceZhang, Yangjian; He, Hong S.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Yang, Jian; Palik, Brian J.2011
Carbon sequestration in the New Jersey Pine Barrens under different scenarios of fire managementScheller, Robert M.; Van Tuyl, Steve; Clark, Kenneth L.; Hom, John; La Puma, Inga.2011
An innovative computer design for modeling forest landscape change in very large spatial extents with fine resolutionsYang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Thompson, Frank R.; Zhang, Yangjian.2011
Predicting global change effects on forest biomass and composition in south-central SiberiaGustafson, Eric; Shvidenko, Anatoly D.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Scheller, Robert M.2010
Forest insect defoliation and carbon dynamics: simulating multiple defoliator outbreaks in mixed deciduous landscapes with LANDIS-IIFoster, Jane; Scheller, Robert; Sturtevant, Brian; Townsend, Phillip; Mladenoff, David2010
Using LANDIS II to study the effects of global change in SiberiaGustafson, Eric J.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Shvidenko, Anatoly Z.; Scheller, Robert M.2010
Using landscape disturbance and succession models to support forest managementGustafson, Eric J.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Shvidenko, Anatoly S.; Scheller, Robert M.2010
Red spruce restoration modeling in LANDISThomas-Van Gundy, Melissa.2010
Simulating restoration strategies for a southern boreal forest landscape with complex land ownership patternsShinneman, Douglas J.; Cornett, Meredith W.; Palik, Brian J.2010
Simulating impacts of invasive plants in southern Appalachian landscapes using LANDISXi, Weimin; Lafon, Charles W.; Cairns, David M.; Waldron, John D.; Tchakerian, Maria D.; Klepzig, Kier D.; Coulston, Robert N.2009
Modeling fire and other disturbance processes using LANDISShifley, Stephen R.; Yang, Jian; He, Hong2009
Forest forming process and dynamic vegetation models under global changeShvidenko, A.; Gustafson, E.2009
Simulating dynamic and mixed-severity fire regimes: a process-based fire extension for LANDIS-IISturtevant, Brian R.; Scheller, Robert M.; Miranda, Brian R.; Shinneman, Douglas.; Syphard, Alexandra.2009
Studying fire mitigation strategies in multi-ownership landscapes: balancing the management of fire-dependent ecosystems and fire riskSturtevant, Brian R.; Miranda, Brian R.; Yang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Scheller, Robert M.2009
Border Lakes land-cover classificationBauer, Marvin; Loeffelholz, Brian; Shinneman, Doug.2009
Increasing the reliability of ecological models using modern software engineering techniquesScheller, Robert M.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Ward, Brendan C.; Mladenoff, David J.2009
Influence of forest planning alternatives on landscape pattern and ecosystem processes in northern Wisconsin, USAZollner, Patrick A.; Roberts, L. Jay; Gustafson, Eric J.; He, Hong S.; Radeloff, Volker2008
Comparing effects of fire modeling methods on simulated fire patterns and succession: a case study in the Missouri OzarksYang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Miranda, Brian R.; Gustafson, Eric J.2008
Simulated effects of climate change, fragmentation, and inter-specific competition on tree species migration in northern Wisconsin, USAScheller, Robert M.; Mladenoff, David J.2008
Forecasting landscape-scale, cumulative effects of forest management on vegetation and wildlife habitat: a case study of issues, limitations, and opportunitiesShifley, Stephen R.; Thompson, Frank R.; Dijak, William D.; Fan, Zhaofei F.2008
Spatial controls of occurrence and spread of wildfires in the Missouri Ozark HighlandsYang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Shifley, Stephen R.2008
Design, development, and application of LANDIS-II, a spatial landscape simulation model with flexible temporal and spatial resolutionScheller, Robert M.; Domingo, James B.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Williams, Jeremy S.; Rudy, Arnold; Gustafson, Eric J.; Mladenoff, David J.2007
Simulated effects of forest management alternatives on landscape structure and habitat suitability in the Midwestern United StatesShifley, Stephen R.; Thompson, Frank R., III; Dijak, William D.; Larson, Michael A.; Millspaugh, Joshua J.2006
Modeling forest harvesting effects on landscape pattern in the Northwest Wisconsin Pine BarrensRadeloff, Volker C.; Mladenoff, David J.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Scheller, Robert M.; Zollner, Patrick A.; Heilman, Hong S.; Akcakaya, H. Resit2006
Modeling the Influence of Dynamic Zoning of Forest Harvesting on Ecological Succession in a Northern Hardwoods LandscapeZollner, Patrick A.; Gustafson, Eric J.; He, Hong S.; Radeloff, Volker C.; Mladenoff, David J.2005
LANDIS 4.0 users guide. LANDIS: a spatially explicit model of forest landscape disturbance, management, and successionHe, Hong S.; Li, Wei; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Yang, Jian; Shang, Bo Z.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Mladenoff, David J.2005
Latin hypercube sampling and geostatistical modeling of spatial uncertainty in a spatially explicit forest landscape model simulationXu, Chonggang; He, Hong S.; Hu, Yuanman; Chang, Yu; Li, Xiuzhen; Bu, Rencang2005
A hierarchical fire frequency model to simulate temporal patterns of fire regimes in LANDISYang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Gustafson, Eric J.2004
Human influence on the abundance and connectivity of high-risk fuels in mixed forests of northern Wisconsin, USASturtevant, Brian R.; Zollner, Patrick A.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Cleland, David T.2004
Modeling biological disturbances in LANDIS: a module description and demonstration using spruce budwormSturtevant, Brian R.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Li, Wei; He, Hong S.2004
Modeling disturbance and succession in forest landscapes using LANDIS: introductionSturtevant, Brian R.; Gustafson, Eric J.; He, Hong S.2004
Influence of forest management alternatives and land type on susceptibility to fire in northern Wisconsin, USAGustafson, Eric J.; Zollner, Patrick A.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Hong, S. He; Mladenoff, David J.2004
Linking population viability, habitat suitability, and landscape simulation models for conservation planningLarson, Michael A.; Thompson, Frank R., III; Millspaugh, Joshua J.; Dijak, William D.; Shifley, Stephen R.2004
Simulating forest fuel and fire risk dynamics across landscapes--LANDIS fuel module designHe, Hong S.; Shang, Bo Z.; Crow, Thomas R.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Shifley, Stephen R.2004
Study of landscape change under forest harvesting and climate warming-induced fire disturbanceHong, S. He; Mladenoff, David J.; Gustafson, Eric J.2002
Spatial simulation of forest succession and timber harvesting using LANDISGustafson, Eric J.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Mladenoff, David J.; Nimerfro, Kevin K.; He, Hong S.2000
Model forest landscape change in the Missouri Ozarks under alternative management practicesShifley, Stephen R.; Thompson, Frank R.; Larsen , David R.; Dijak, William D.2000
Utilizing inventory information to calibrate a landscape simulation modelShifley, Steven R.; Thompson, Frank R., III; Larsen, David R.; Mladenoff, David J.; Gustafson, Eric J.2000
Linking an ecosystem model and a landscape model to study forest species response to climate warmingHe, Hong S.; Mladenoff, David J.; Crow, Thomas R.1999
An object-oriented forest landscape model and its representation of tree speciesHe, Hong S.; Mladenoff, David J.; Boeder, Joel1999
Spatially explicit and stochastic simulation of forest landscape fire disturbance and successionHe, Hong S.; Mladenoff, David J.1999
The effects of seed dispersal on the simulation of long-term forest landscape changeHe, Hong S.; Mladenoff, David J.1999
Modeling forest landscape change in the Ozarks: guiding principles and preliminary implementationShifley, Stephen R.; Thompson, Frank R., III; Larsen, David R.; Mladenoff, David J.1997

Other Publications

Title Author Year
Oak decline in the Boston Mountains, Arkansas, USA: Spatial and temporal patterns under two fire regimes. Spetich, M.A.; and He, H.S. 2008

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Last Modified: 05/23/2013