This is a curated selection of external available models for ecology


BILJOU is a forest water balance model that simulates water flows (transpiration, interception, soil evaporation and drainage) in a forest ecosystem at daily time steps.

BIOME-BioGeoChemistry (BIOME-BGC)

Biome-BGC is an ecosystem model that estimates fluxes and storage of energy, water, carbon, and nitrogen for the vegetation and soil components of terrestrial ecosystems. Processes accounted for are leaf growth, litterfall, sunlight interception, rainfall interception, snow accumulation, snowmelt, drainage of soil water, evaporation of water from soil and leaves, transpiration, photosynthetic carbon fixation, nitrogen uptake, allocation of carbon and nitrogen, decomposition of plant litter and soil organic mater, plant mortality and fireThe model uses a daily time-step.


BROOK90 is a hydrological model that simulates vertical soil water movement and daily evapotranspiration for all land surfaces at all times of year using a process-oriented approach with physically-meaningful parameters. The complexities of hillslope hydrology and spatial distribution have been omitted in order to focus on the details of the factors controlling evaporation. The model estimates interception and transpiration from a single layer (big leaf) plant canopy, soil and snow evaporation, snow accumulation and melt, and soil-water movement through one or more soil layers (including macropore-assisted infiltration).


CANOAK is a coupled biophysical and ecophysiolgical model that computes fluxes of water, heat and CO2 exchange within vegetation canopies and between the canopy and the atmosphere. In doing so CANOAK computes the canopy microclimate (light, wind, temperature, humidity and CO2), which provides drivers for physiological processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration and stomatal conductance.

Carbon Energy Nutrients Water (CENW)

CenW is a generic growth and carbon cycling model that simulates photosynthetic carbon gain, water use and the nitrogen cycle through soil organic matter. The photosynthetic modelling uses a simple, yet physiologically based, description of photosynthesis together with simple assumptions about light interception. Nitrogen turn-over is calculated with a modified version of the CENTURY model, which links organic carbon and nitrogen in soil organic matter pools and the dynamics of carbon and nitrogen in the soil with that in plants.

CArbon-Nitrogen Dynamics (CANDY)

The agro-ecosystem model CANDY (Carbon And Nitrogen DYnamics) has been developed to describe carbon and nitrogen dynamics in arable soils in order to provide information about carbon stocks in soils, organic matter turnover, nitrogen uptake by crops, leaching and water quality. The basic process modules are: soil water dynamics, soil temperature dynamics, crop development including permanent grassland and livestock, soil organic matter turnover and nitrogen dynamics


CASTANEA is a physiological multilayer process-based model designed to predict the carbon balance of an even-aged, monospecific deciduous forest stand. The main output variables are: (1) leaf area index (LAI), standing biomass, soil carbon content and water content, which are state variables; and (2) canopy photosynthesis, maintenance respiration, growth of organs, growth respiration, soil heterotrophic respiration, transpiration and evapotranspiration, which are flux density variables


DAYCENT is a biogeochemical model that simulates fluxes of C and N among the atmosphere, vegetation, and soil operating at daily time-steps. Key submodels include soil water content and temperature by layer, plant production and allocation of net primary production (NPP), decomposition of litter and soil organic matter, mineralization of nutrients, N gas emissions from nitrification and denitrification, and CH4 oxidation in non-saturated soils. Model outputs include: daily N-gas flux (N2O, NOx, N2), CO2 flux from heterotrophic soil respiration, soil organic C and N, NPP, H2O and NO3 leaching, and other ecosystem parameters.

Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange (CABLE)

CABLE is a land surface model used to calculate fluxes of momentum, energy, water and carbon between the land surface and the atmosphere and to model the major biochemical cycles of the land ecosystem. CABLE can be run as a standalone model for a single location or globally, or as part of an atmospheric model.

Community Land Model (CLM-DGVM)

The Community Land Model is a collaborative project between scientists. The model simulates the physical, chemical and biological processes by which terrestrial ecosystems affect and are affected by climate across a variety of spatial and temporal scales. The model represents several aspects of the land surface, including surface heterogeneity and consists of components related to land biogeophysics, hydrological cycle, biogeochemistry, human dimensions and ecosystem dynamics.

DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC)

DNDC is a computer simulation model of carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry in agro-ecosystems. The model can be used for predicting crop growth, soil temperature and moisture regimes, soil carbon dynamics, nitrogen leaching, and emissions of trace gases including nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide (NO), dinitrogen (N2), ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2).


ECH2O is a spatially-distributed, physically-based model for ecohydrologic studies. It couples together a description of the energy balance with a hydrologic model and a forest growth components.

Ecosystem Demography model (ED)

ED is an individual-based model of vegetation dynamics with integrated submodels of plant growth, mortality, phenology, disturbance, hydrology and soil biogeochemistry. individual plants of different functional types compete mechanistically in ED under local environmental conditions.

Ecosystem Demography model (ED2)

ED2 is an integrated terrestrial biosphere model incorporating hydrology, land-surface biophysics, vegetation dynamics, and soil carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry. Like ED, ED2 uses a set of size- and age-structured partial differential equations that track the changing structure and composition of the plant canopy.


FATE is a spatially and temporally explicit vegetation model. It uses plant functional groups (PFG) and integrates important mechanisms driving vegetation dynamics, structure and diversity, such as demographic cycle, obviously, but also seeds dispersal, abiotic filtering or biotic interactions (through the competition for resources like light availability or soil nutrient availability).


The spatially explicit ecosystem process model FireBGCv2 is a landscape fire and vegetation model C++ computer program that incorporates several types of stand dynamics models into a spatially explicit landscape simulation platform.


FORCLIM is a climate-sensitive forest succession (“gap”) model, developed to simulate forest stand dynamics over a wide range of environmental conditions. The PLANT submodel simulates establishment, growth and mortality of tree individuals that, for technical reasons, are grouped in size cohorts. The WEATHER and WATER submodels provide the input data for the PLANT submodel. The submodel MANAGEMENT allows simulations forest management strategies that are commonly used in Central Europe, such as clearcutting, shelterwood, thinning, planting, among others.

FORESEE–FORESt Ecosystems in a Changing Environment (4C)

4C is a model developed to describe long-term forest behaviour under changing environmental conditions. The model includes descriptions of tree species composition, forest structure, total ecosystem carbon content as well as leaf area index. The model shares a number of features with gap models, which have often been used for the simulation of long-term forest development. Establishment, growth and mortality of tree cohorts are explicitly modelled on a patch on which horizontal homogeneity is assumed. 4C requires climatic driving variables on a daily resolution but the outputs are given according to various time steps.

FORest Canopy Atmosphere Transfer (FORCAsT)

FORest Canopy Atmosphere Transfer model is a canopy model capable of simulating the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from biogenic VOC oxidation.

Forest Community Ecology and Ecosystem ProcesseS (FORCEEPS)

A forest community model for woody species (Angiosperms and Gymnosperms). Inspired by the gap model ForClim, deals with environmental and biotic filtering of forest communities and ecosystem processes such as biomass production

forest dynamics in spatially changing environments (FORSPACE)

FORSPACE is a spatially explicit forest gap model that aims to give a realistic description of the processes that determine forest dynamics at the scale of a landscape (up to thousands of hectares). Gap dynamics in relation to herbivores are an important aspects of FORSPACE. FORSPACE tracks cohorts of identical individuals per species. The vertical structure is represented by different height cohorts per species.

FORest management strategies to enhance the MITigation potential of European forests (FORMIT-M)

FORMIT-M is a widely applicable, open-access, simple and flexible, climate-sensitive forest management simulator requiring only standard forest inventory data as input. It combines a process-based carbon balance approach with a strong inventory-based empirical component.


FORMIND is an individual-based vegetation model that simulates the growth of forests on the hectare scale. It allows to explore forest dynamics and forest structure including also processes like gap building. The main processes included in FORMIND are recruitment and establishment, mortality and growth. They depend on site-specific environmental conditions (temperature, insoolation, …). In addition, disturbances like fire events, forest fragmentation, logging or landslides can be activated.

Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES)

FATES is a terrestrial ecosystem model that simulates and predicts growth, death and regeneration of plants and subsequent tree size distributions. When coupled into an earth system model, FATES allows representing potential ecosystem responses to environmental resource variability (water, light, nutrients), climate and atmospheric compositional changes.


HETEROFOR is a spatially-explicit and process-based model describing individual tree growth based on resource sharing (light, water and nutrients) in uneven-aged and mixed stands. HETEROFOR was progressively elaborated through the integration of various modules (light interception, phenology, water cycling, photosynthesis and respiration, carbon allocation, mineral nutrition and nutrient cycling).

Integrated BIosphere Simulator (IBIS)

IBIS is a comprehensive computer model of the Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems that simulates a wide variety of ecosystem processes, including energy, water, and CO2 exchange between vegetation and the atmosphere, physiological processes of plants and soil organisms, vegetation phenology, plant growth and competition, and nutrient cycling.

JAnak-BOtkin-WAllis (JABOWA)

JABOWA is a forest model developed in 1970 by Daniel B. Botkin, and James F. Janak and James R. Wallis. Since this, this kind of model is known among ecologists as “gap model” . The model simulates the growth of individual trees on small plots, as a function of forest structure and environmental variables such as elevation, rainfall and soil properties.

Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES)

JULES is a community land surface model that is used both as a standalone model and as the land surface component in UK’s Met Office Unified Model. JULES has a tiled model of sub-grid heterogeneity with separate surface temperatures, short-wave and long-wave radiative fluxes, sensible and latent heat fluxes, ground heat fluxes, canopy moisture contents, snow masses and snow melt rates computed for each surface type in a grid-box.


KEYLINK is a soil model integrating new knowledge on soil structure and its importance for soil organic matter (SOM) stabilization and hydrology, with the existing concepts on SOM pools, and elements from food web models, i.e. those from direct trophic interactions among soil organisms.


LandClim is a stochastic process-based model designed to study spatially explicit forest dynamics at the landscape scale over long time periods with a fine spatial resolution. The tree growth processes are based on a simplified version of the forest gap model FORCLIM. At the landscape scale, LandClim simulates processes that occur across grid cells, including seed dispersal, disturbances and forest management regimes.