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The optimal management of landscapes must incorporate the cause-and-effect relationships that have so carefully been observed by ecologists in the field. The growing availability of straightforward, user-friendly simulation modeling tools is now helping to bridge the considerable gap between the ecologist’s deep, intuitive technical understanding of landscape systems and the development of practical, science-driven landscape management plans. This book offers a thorough introduction to the topic of real-world simulation modeling for scientists who have completed little or no preparatory work in computer programming. It describes the usefulness of simple, expedient simulation models to disciplines such as ecology and the social sciences, and explains why such models can readily be understood, adopted, and extended by peers in the field or students.
The text provides a detailed description of the process for building spatially explicit simulation models, either by an individual scientist or a multidisciplinary project team. It also introduces the reader to the public domain, easy-to-learn NetLogo software environment, which was used to develop all of the models presented in this book. By following the prescribed model design and development processes, the reader will learn the essentials of rapidly and inexpensively developing simulation models that can provide important new insights into landscape management or other field research problems. Eleven spatially explicit NetLogo simulation models, all developed by ecologists and social scientists without significant programming experience, are fully documented. The book also includes a CD-ROM containing these models and a fully operational copy of NetLogo that functions under all major computer operating systems running Java.