A patch-based spatial modeling approach: Conceptual framework and simulation scheme

Jianguo Wu, Simon A. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


Patchiness is ubiquitous across a wide range of scales, and spatial pattern and ecological processes are interdependent and interactive. However, traditional approaches have not been able to incorporate spatial patchiness and pattern-process interactions into modeling frameworks because of their assumptions of homogeneity, equilibrium and determinism. Recently, different modeling approaches have been developed to take into account of spatial heterogeneity and its effects on ecological processes. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework and simulation scheme for a spatially explicit patch dynamic modelling approach. The model structure consists primarily of two submodels: a spatially-explicit, age-/size-structured patch demographic model and a multi-specific population dynamic model. We demonstrate the modeling approach through an example, and also present alternative formulations and algorithms for implementing different parts of the model. While most existing spatial models are grid-based, the patch-based spatial modeling approach provides a unique, alternative way of studying pattern and process in ecological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-346
Number of pages22
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Aug 15 1997


  • Framework
  • Simulation scheme
  • Spatial modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling

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