701-1677-00L  Quantitative Vegetation Dynamics: Models from Tree to Globe

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersH. Lischke, U. Hiltner, B. Rohner
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


701-1677-00 GQuantitative Vegetation Dynamics: Models from Tree to Globe3 hrs
Mon09:15-12:00NO E 11 »
H. Lischke, U. Hiltner, B. Rohner

Catalogue data

AbstractThe course introduces basic concepts and applications of dynamic vegetation models at various temporal and spatial scales. Different modeling approaches and underlying principles are presented and critically discussed during the lectures. In the integrated exercise parts, students work in a number of small projects with some of the introduced models to gain practical experience.
ObjectiveStudents will
- be enabled to understand, assess and evaluate the fundamental properties of dynamic systems using vegetation models as case studies
- obtain an overview of dynamic modelling techniques and their applications from the individual plant to the global level
- understand the basic assumptions of the various model types, which dictate the applicability and limitations of the respective model
- be enabled to work with such model types on their own
- appreciate the methodological basis for impact assessments of future climate change and other environmental changes on ecosystems.
ContentModels of individuals
- Deriving single-plant models from inventory measurements
- Plant models based on 'first principles'

Models at the stand scale
- Simple approaches: matrix models
- Competition for light and other resources as central mechanisms
- Individual-based stand models: distance-dependent and distance-independent
- Theoretical models

Models at the landscape scale
- Simple approaches: cellular automata
- Dispersal and disturbances (windthrow, fire, bark beetles) as key mechanisms
- Landscape models

Global models
- Sacrificing local detail to attain global coverage: processes and entities
- Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs)
- DGVMs as components of Earth System Models
Lecture notesHandouts will be available in the course and for download
LiteratureWill be indicated at the beginning of the course
Prerequisites / Notice- Ideally basic experiences in modelling and systems analysis
- Basic knowledge of programming, ideally in R
- Good knowledge of general ecology, ideally of vegetation dynamics and forest systems

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersB. Rohner, U. Hiltner, H. Lischke
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is only offered in the session after the course unit. Repetition only possible after re-enrolling.
Mode of examinationoral 45 minutes
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

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Offered in

Science, Technology, and Policy MasterResources and EnvironmentWInformation
Environmental Sciences MasterMethods and ToolsWInformation
Environmental Sciences MasterQuantitative and Computational ExpertiseWInformation