Simulation Models and GIS Technology in Environmental Planning and Landscape Management


Landscape protection that, in the past, has been mainly concerned with its historical, artistic and cultural heritage, follows, nowadays, a systemic methodology that looks at landscape as a high level aggregate of spatial, ecologically different units that interact each other by exchanging energy and materials. Strategic environmental assessment, nowadays, has been adopted in Europe in landscape planning, whose task is to verify the compatibility of territory transformations with respect to their levels of criticality and vulnerability, to evaluate possible future scenarios as consequence of interventions by checking if they are in line with preservation and valorization of environmental. To this aim, we make here a short survey of three different simulation models that can be used as Decision Support System in landscape planning and management. They adopt tools of the Landscape Ecology and are based on GIS (Geographic Information System) technology. The first one consists of a planar graph, the so called ecological graph, whose construction needs the computation of suitable indices of environmental control, proper of Landscape Ecology, such as biodiversity, biological territorial capacity, connectivity. The planar graph, for the considered environmental system, returns a picture of its actual ecological health condition and provides very detailed indications and operational assistance for choosing among possible ecological sustainable interventions. The second one, based on the data used to construct the ecological graph, uses the least-cost path algorithm from GIS technology in order to build an ecological network to prevent and to reduce territorial fragmentation caused by intense processes of urbanisation and industrialisation. At last, an integrated GIS-based approach is developed combining an ecological graph model and a mathematical model based on a nonlinear differential equation of logistic-type with harvesting to perform qualitative predictions on the sustainability of a given territorial plan.

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G. Lauro, "Simulation Models and GIS Technology in Environmental Planning and Landscape Management," Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 5 No. 3, 2013, pp. 292-302. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2013.53028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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