We offer a new framework for cellular automata modeling to describe and predict vegetation dynamics. The model can simulate community composition and spatial patterns by following a set of probabilistic rules generated from empirical data on plant neighborhood dynamics. Based on published data (Lippe et al. 1985), we apply the model to simulate Atlantic Heathland vegetation dynamics and compare the outcome with previous models described for the same site. Our results indicate reasonable agreement between simulated and real data and with previous models based on Markov chains or on mechanistic spatial simulation, and that spatial models may detect similar species dynamics given by non-spatial models. We found evidence that a directional vegetation dynamics may not correspond to a monotonic increase in community spatial organization. The model framework may as well be applied to other systems.
Cellular automaton or cellular automata
Anand, M. and L. Orlóci. 1997. Chaotic dynamics in multispecies community. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 4: 337–344.
Baker, W.L. 1989. A review of models of landscape change. Landscape Ecol. 2: 111–133.
Baltzer, H. 2000. Markov chain models for vegetation dynamics. Ecol. Model. 126: 139–154.
Colasanti, R.L. and R. Hunt. 1997. Resource dynamics and plant growth: a self-assembling model for individuals, populations and communities. Fund. Ecol. 11:133–145.
Ermentrout, G.B. and L. Edelstein-Keshet. 1993. Cellular automata approaches to biological modeling. J. theoret. Biol. 160:97–133.
Feller, W. 1968. An Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications. 3rd ed. Wiley, New York.
Gassmann, F., F. Klotzli and G.R. Walther. 2000. Simulation of observed types of dynamics of plants and plant communities. J. Veg. Sci. 11:397–408.
Goldberg, D.E. 1987. Neighborhood competition in an old-field plant community. Ecology 68: 1211–1223.
Holling, CS. 1973. Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 4:1–23.
Jeltsch, F., S.J. Milton, W.R.J. Dean and N. Van Rooyen. 1996. Tree spacing and coexistence in semiarid savannas. J. Ecol. 84:583–595.
Lippe, E., J.T. De Smidt and D.C. Glenn-Lewin. 1985. Markov models and succession: a test from a heathland in the Netherlands. J. Ecol. 73:775–791.
Molofsky, J. 1994. Population dynamics and pattern formation in theoretical populations. Ecology 75: 30–39.
Moloney, K.A., S.A. Levin, N.R. Chiariello and L. Buttel. 1992. Pattern and scale in a Serpentine grassland. Theoret. Popul. Biol. 41:257–276.
Orlóci, L. 2000. From order to causes: a personal view, concerning the principles of syndynamics. Published at the internet address: http://sites.netscape.netlorloci.
Orlóci, L. 2001. Pattern dynamics: an essay concerning principles. techniques, and applications. Community Ecol. 2: 1–15.
Orlóci, L., M. Anand. and X. He. 1993. Markov chain: a realistic model for temporal coenosere? Biometrie-Praximetrie 33: 7–26.
Orlóci, L. and M. Orlóci. 1988. On recovery, Markov chains and canonical analysis. Ecology 69: 1260–1265.
Orlóci, L., V. D. Pillar, H. Behling, and M. Anand. 2002. Some interesting characteristics of the vegetation process. Community Ecol. 3: 125–146.
Pillar, V. D. and L. Orlóci. 1996. On randomization testing in vegetation science: multifactor comparisons of relevé groups. J. Veg. Sci. 7: 585–592.
Prentice, I.C., O. Van Tongeren and J.T. De Smidt. 1987. Simulation of heathland vegetation dynamics. J. Ecol. 75: 203–219.
Van Hulst, R. 1997. Vegetation change as a stochastic process. Coenoses 12: 131–140.
Vichniac, G.Y. 1984. Simulating physics with cellular automata. Physica 10D: 96–116.
Wolfram, S. 1983. Statistical mechanics of cellular automata. Reviews of Modern Physics 55: 601–644.
Wolfram, S. 2002. A New Kind of Science. Wolfram Media, Champaign, Illinois.
The research was supported by Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa Científica e Tecnológica (CNPq, Brazil) in the form of a grant and fellowship to V.P. and a doctoral scholarship to A.T.S.L. The paper benefited from comments and suggestions received during its presentation at the 45th IAVS Symposium held in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
About this article
Cite this article
Lanzer, A.T.S., Pillar, V.D. Probabilistic cellular automaton: model and application to vegetation dynamics. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 3, 159–167 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.3.2002.2.3
- Atlantic Heathland
- Chi-square statistics
- Markov chain
- Plant community
- Spatial pattern