A spatial simulation model for vegetation dynamics

Onno van Tongeren*, I. Colin Prentice

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


A fine-resolution, spatially explicit, stochastic model was developed to simulate the dynamics of species cover abundance and pattern in a single vegetation layer wherein neighbouring individuals are assumed to compete for growing space. Each species in the model is characterized by a small number of morphological and life-history parameters, which enter into equations that stand for a minimal set of vegetation processes. The model performed well in reproducing post-fire successional trends among the three codominant dwarf shrubs in a Dutch heathland community as recorded in an annually mapped permanent quadrat. Program inputs, outputs and an example of sensitivity analysis are illustrated. With suitable changes, the model could potentially describe any plant community in which the vertical structure is simple and community dynamics are determined by spatial interactions among neighbouring plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Establishment
  • Growth
  • Heathland
  • Mortality
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Simulation
  • Spatial pattern
  • Stochastic model
  • Succession


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