Which Ecosystems Have Been Modeled

Almost all ecosystems have been modeled. Table 5 gives an overview of the modeling effort for different ecosystems using the following scale: 5 indicates a very intensive modeling effort - more than 100 different model approaches can be found in the literature; 4 indicates intensive modeling effort - 25-100 different modeling approaches can be found in the literature; 3 indicates some modeling effort - 10-15 references in the literature can be found; 2 indicates that

Table 4 Model type applicable to different problems/systems


Model type to be recommended

Distribution of matter or energy3 Development of populations3 Toxic compounds: distribution and effect Individuality important Structural changes may occur Forcing functions and/or processes stochastic Spatial distribution important

Biogeochemical/bioenergetic dynamic models Population dynamic models Ecotoxicological models

Structurally dynamic models Stochastic models

Spatial models aANN could also be applied if causality is less important and optimum data utilization is important. Hybrid models may be applied to combine causality with good data utilization.

Table 5 Modeling effort, ecosystem classification


Modeling effort

Rivers Lakes

Estuaries, fjords Wetlands Coastal zones Grasslands Open sea Agriculture lands Forests Savannas Coral reefs Arctic ecosystems Deserts

Deep sea ecosystems Mountain land above timberline only a few models have been developed - 4-10 models can be found in the literature; and 1 indicates that only 1-3 models have been published. The classification is based on a review of the journal Ecological Modelling, volumes 1-200. Statistics has revealed that this scientific journal covers 40-45% of all published models.

Table 3 Model types applicable to different data sets

Description of data set

Model type recommended

High quality, homogeneous High quality, heterogeneous Only typical or average values Uncertain data No data, only rules Important to utilize data set

Biogeochemical/bioenergetic dynamic models; or population dynamic models ANN

Static models Fuzzy models

Fuzzy models, rule-based models ANN

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