Workshop in Modeling Landscape-level Ecological Restoration
February 23-25, 2011 – Ontario Service Centre – Ottawa, Ontario
CASIOPA partnered with Parks Canada to run a special, technical workshop run by ApexRMS’ Colin Daniel.
The workshop focused on The Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool (VDDT). This is used to assist land managers in predicting how vegetation may change over time as part of landscape-level ecological restoration and planning. It has been used to determine reference conditions for the United States Fire program (LANDFIRE) as well as for modeling riparian vegetation, channel condition, and aquatic habitat dynamics in response to alternative land-use practices.
The first day focused on a case study using prescribed fire and control of invasive alien plants in Point Pelee National Park. The remainder was focused on VDDT training, as described below.
Overview of Training in Landscape Modelling Tools: Introduction to VDDT
The Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool (VDDT) is a user-friendly, public-domain software tool that provides a framework for quantifying the rate and effects of vegetation change on a landscape. Users partition the landscape into states (e.g., combinations of cover and structure) and define the transitions (e.g., disturbances, succession, management) and probabilities for movement between states.
- Understanding of state-and-transition modeling concepts
- Understanding of how to represent a state-and-transition model in VDDT
- Ability to create a simple model of vegetation change in VDDT
- Ability to run models in VDDT and interpret their results
- Understanding of how different ecosystems and management alternatives can be represented in VDDT
- Understanding of the steps required in order to create your own set of VDDT models
- Overview of vegetation modeling approaches
- State-and-transition modeling fundamentals
- VDDT model basics: successional pathway diagrams, initial conditions, run parameters, Monte Carlo simulations, model algorithm, model output
- Creating VDDT models: defining state classes and pathways, editing successional pathway diagrams, loading and saving models
- Interpreting VDDT model results: output options, comparing model runs
- Introduction to advanced features: sensitivity analysis, modelling multiple regions, age constraints on transitions, time-since-disturbance effects, importing & exporting files
- Presentation of case studies using VDDT in a range of ecosystems
- Suggestions for organizing a team-based model building initiative