This is a curated selection of external available models for ecology


The LANDIS-II forest landscape model simulates forests (both trees and shrubs) at decadal to multi-century time scales and spatial scales spanning hundreds to millions of hectares. The model simulates change as a function of growth and succession and, optionally, as they are influenced by range of disturbances (e.g., fire, wind, insects), forest management, land use change.


LANDIS PRO is a raster-based forest landscape model (FLM) that evolved over 15 years of development and applications of the LANDIS model. Within each raster cell, the model records number of trees by species age cohort, and size (e.g., DBH) of each age cohort, which is derived from empirical age-DBH relationships. LANDIS PRO incorporates species-, stand-, and landscape-scale processes. Species- and stand-scale processes are simulated within each cell, and landscape-scale processes are simulated across the whole landscape, in addition these three scales interact with each other.


LINKAGES is a forest ecosystem biogeochemistry model that predicts long-term structure and dynamics of forest ecosystems as constrained by nitrogen availability, climate, and soil moisture. LINKAGES simulates ecosystem carbon and nitrogen storage and cycling by considering the interactions between physiological processes that determine individual tree growth, demographic processes that determine tree-population dynamics, microbial processes that determine nitrogen availability, and environmental processes that determine water availability.

Lund–Potsdam–Jena General Ecosystem Simulator (LPJ-GUESS)

LPJ-GUESS is a process-based dynamic vegetation-terrestrial ecosystem model designed for regional or global studies. It can predict structural, compositional and functional properties of the native ecosystems of major climate zones of the Earth.

Lund–Potsdam–Jena managed land (LPJmL)

The LPJmL model is a dynamic gloval vegetation model designed to simulate the global terrestrial water and carbon cycles and the response of carbon and vegetation patterns under climate change. LPJmL simulate vegetation composition and distribution as well as stocks and land-atmosphere exchange flows of carbon and water, both for natural and agricultural ecosystems.


MAESTRO/MAESTRA is a 3D model of forest canopy radiation absorption and photosynthesis. The forest canopy is represented in the model as an array of tree crowns, whose positions and dimensions are specified, but calculations are done for a target crown.


MILLENIAL is a soil model developed to simulate C pools that can be measured by extraction or fractionation, including particulate organic C, mineral-associated organic C, aggregate C, microbial biomass, and low molecular weight C. Model processes have been updated to reflect the current understanding of mineral-association, temperature sensitivity and reaction kinetics.

Modeling and Analysis in Dendroecology (MAIDEN)

MAIDEN is an ecophysiological model that was created to explore the relationships between climate variability and forest growth-productivity. The simulations can be verified using different data to validate the different processes in the model, including dendroecological growth data, 13C and 18O data and measurements of ecosystem carbon and water fluxes.


MuSICA is a model primarily developed to simulate the exchanges of mass (water, CO2) and energy in the soil-vegetation-atmosphere continuum. Stand structure is explicitly accounted for and competition for light and water between species can be explored. The model typically produces output at a 30-min time step and can be run over multiple years or decades as long as the vegetation structure is given.

Organising Carbon and Hydrology In Dynamic Ecosystems (ORCHIDEE)

ORCHIDEE is the land surface model of the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, and can be run as a stand alone terrestrial biosphere model in a coupled set-up. The model includes processes to quantify terrestrial water, carbon and energy balances. Anthropogenic interferences includes land cover changes, fire, crop irrigation and forest/grassland management.

Physiological Principles in Predicting Growth (3-PG)

The 3-PG model was developed to bridge the gap between conventional, mensuration-based growth and yield, and process-based carbon balance models. 3-PG calculates the radiant energy absorbed by forest canopies and converts it into biomass production. The efficiency of radiation conversion is modified by the effects of nutrition, soil drought (the model includes continuous calculation of water balance), atmospheric vapour pressure deficits and stand age. Output includes stem biomass and volume, average stem diameters, stand basal area at any time and the time course of Leaf Area Index.


The PICUS model family is based on the patch model approach and comprises the three model variants,each operating on a different level of physiological detail


PREBAS is a forest growth and ecosystem carbon balance model. In PREBAS three different models PRELES (PREdict Light-use efficiency, Evapotranspiration and Soil water), CROBAS (Tree growth and CROwn BASe from carbon balance), and YASSO (Yet Another Simulator of Soil Organic matter) are coupled together in order to predict the growth and carbon balance of the forest ecosystem. CROBAS provides estimates of LAI (Leaf Area Index) that is used in PRELES to compute gross primary production. GPP is then used by CROBAS to estimate forest growth. The stand structural variables and the biomass components of the forest are updated. Meanwhile, CROBAS estimates the litter production that is the input of YASSO.

Quantifying Interactions between terrestrial Nutrient CYcles and the climate system (QUINCY)

The QUINCY model is a terrestrial biosphere model tracking the flows of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as a number of isotopes for a number of pre-defined terrestrial ecosystem types at a half-hourly time-step. The objective of QUINCY is to clarify the role of the interacting terrestrial nitrogen and phosphorus cycles and their effects on terrestrial C allocation and residence times as well as terrestrial water fluxes. It is currently developed to run for individual sites driven by surface meteorology, but its intention is to be further developed to be coupled to a land-surface scheme of a global climate model.

Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System (RHESSYS)

RHESSYS is a GIS-based hydro-ecological modelling framework designed to simulate carbon, water and nutrient fluxes. By combining a set of physically-based process models and a methodology for partitioning and parameterizing the landscape, RHESSYS is capable of modelling the spatial distribution and spatio-temporal interactions between different processes at the watershed scale.

Rothamsted carbon model (ROTH-C)

ROTH-C is amodel for the turnover of organic carbon in non-waterlogged topsoils that allows for the effects of soil type, temperature, moisture and plant cover on the turnover precesses. It uses a monthly time step to calculate total organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon and delta 14C on a years to centuries timescale.


SORTIE-ND (or just SORTIE) is an individual-based forest simulator designed to study neighborhood processes. This means that the trees in the forest are modeled individually, not as averages or spatial aggregates. Each individual has a location in space. SORTIE specializes in modeling the interactions of trees with their nearest neighbors to study local neighborhood dynamics.


Tethys-Chloris is a physical-based mechanistic tool developed to account for the coupled interactions of energy-water-vegetation in a variety of environments and climates where water is the key component. Energy and mass exchanges in the atmospheric surface layer are treated thoroughly with an accurate resistance analogy scheme. A simplified module of saturated and unsaturated soil water dynamics governs the subsurface hydrology. Up to two layers of vegetation (e.g. trees and grasses) can be accounted for. In cold environment a snowpack evolution module controls the energy exchanges, the snow accumulation and the snow melting that can be eventually mediated by vegetation interactions. Vegetation structure and dynamics are parsimoniously parameterizes including plant life-cycle processes, photosynthesis, phenology, carbon allocation and tissues turnover.

The Canadian Land Surface Scheme Including Biogeochemical Cycles (CLASSIC)

CLASSIC is a land surface model that simulates the exchanges of energy, water, carbon, and momentum at the earth’s surface. CLASSIC is formed by the coupling of the Canadian Land Surface Scheme (CLASS) and the Canadian Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (CTEM). CLASS handles the model physics including fluxes of energy, water and momentum. CTEM simulates biogeochemical cycles including fluxes of carbon.

the individual-based forest landscape and disturbance model (iLand)

iLand is a model of forest landscape dynamics, simulating individual tree competition, growth, mortality, and regeneration. It addresses interactions between climate (change), disturbance regimes, vegetation dynamics, and forest management. In iLand, forest dynamics is modeled as an emergent property of interactions between adaptive agents, and their environment. iLand is a multi-scale process-based model, integrating processes from the individual tree level (e.g., competition) to the landscape scale (e.g., disturbance) in a hierarchical simulation framework.

Three Dimensional Forest Ecosystem Model of the euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change (3D-CMCC-FEM)

3D-CMCC-FEM is a hybrid or fully bio-geochemical forest model that simulates storage and fluxes of carbon, water, and nitrogen including the dynamics occurring in forest ecosystems. The model is able to reproduce dynamics occurring in homogeneous and heterogeneous forests with different plant species, for different ages, diameters and height classes competing with each other for resources. The model simulates carbon fluxes in terms of gross and net primary production, partitioning and allocation in the main plant compartments (stem, branch, leaf, fruit, fine and coarse root, including non-structural carbon compounds). Nitrogen fluxes and allocation in the same carbon pools are also reproduced


TreeMig model, a spatially explicit and linked forest landscape model originally based on a forest gap model, which takes additionally into account tree species migration. In each cell (sidelength from 25m to 1km) of a rectangular grid, forest dynamics is simulated at the species level, including environment dependent reproduction, growth, competition, and mortality, and between-cell seed dispersal which allows the simulation of migration. Within-cell vertical and horizontal structure is depicted by frequency distributions of tree density in height classes and therefore light attenuation.

University of Virginia Forest Model Enhanced (UVAFME)

UVAFME is an individual-based gap model that simulates the annual establishment, growth, and mortality of individual trees on independent patches (i.e. plots) of a forested landscape. The model is only spatially distributed in the vertical dimension, and plots are assumed to have no direct spatial interactions with one another. Through a Monte Carlo-style aggregation, the average of several hundred of these independent patches represents the average expected conditions of a forested landscape through time.