Modeling epidemiological disturbances in LANDIS-II

7 March 2018

Tonini, Francesco; Jones, Christopher; Miranda, Brian; Cobb, Richard; Sturtevant, Brian; Meentemeyer, Ross

Forest landscape simulation models (FLSMs) – often used to understand and project forest dynamics over space and time in response to environmental disturbance – have rarely included realistic epidemiological processes of plant disease transmission and impacts. Landscape epidemiological models, by contrast, frequently treat forest ecosystems as static or make simple assumptions regarding ecosystem change following disease. Here we present the Base Epidemiological Disturbance Agent (EDA) extension that allows users of the LANDIS-II FLSM to simulate forest pathogen spread and host mortality within a spatially explicit forest simulation. EDA enables users to investigate forest pathogen spread and impacts over large landscapes (>105 ha) and long time periods. We evaluate the model extension using Phytophthora ramorum as a case study of an invasive plant pathogen causing emerging infectious disease and considerable tree mortality in California. EDA will advance the utility of LANDIS-II and forest disease modeling in general.