General Principles for Developing Landscape Models for Wildlife Conservation

Joshua J. Millspaugh, Robert A. Gitzen, David R. Larsen, Michael A. Larson, Frank R. Thompson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A model is a formal framework for organizing and synthesizing existing knowledge about an ecological system. Models have become pervasive tools in natural resources management, large-scale planning, and landscape ecology. Models help address fundamental questions about wildlife habitat relationships and habitat management. Landscape models take many forms, including statistical models that quantify relationships and patterns among variables conceptual models that offer a qualitative construct of a system, and simulation models that project landscape features into the future. Landscape models can produce output that is as difficult to analyze and understand as data from the original system. For examining and presenting the results from landscape simulation models, ecologists need tools that facilitate interpretation of complex multivariate patterns. There are multiple potential purposes for formalizing one's intellectual framework into a model, whether conceptual or quantitative. Regardless of whether one constructs a landscape simulation model or draws a diagram on the back of a napkin, constructing a model forces biologists to confront their assumptions about the system and the support for these assumptions. A management-oriented model is built to help managers determine the course of action to take, the risks associated with alternative actions, and the uncertainties that must be addressed to make better decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModels for Planning Wildlife Conservation in Large Landscapes
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)9780123736314
StatePublished - 2009


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