Major new versions of SyncroSim and ST-Sim, including R package and Lite version, available for free download

SyncroSim Version 2, including the new rsyncrosim package for R, is now available for free download. This new version of SyncroSim represents a major milestone in the development of our scenario-based, stochastic modeling toolkit. With the release of Version 2, it is now possible to develop of any number of plug-in “modules” for SyncroSim – such as our flagship ST-Sim module for developing state-and-transition simulation models of landscape change – each representing one or more interconnected processes in a modeling project. Key new features of the SyncroSim software framework include: (1) the ability to connect multiple simulation models; (2) to script a modeling workflow from start to finish in programming languages such as R and Python; (3) to publish models for use by a non-technical audience using the new SyncroSim Lite user interface.

ST-Sim Training & User Group Meeting, November 28-30, 2017

Early registration is now open for the ST-Sim Training & User Group Meeting.

This meeting brings together current and future users of ST-Sim in order to learn more about the software and to share experiences regarding its application to a wide range of questions. The event begins with two days of training – including both introductory and advanced streams – followed by a third day of case study presentations by scientists demonstrating the latest ST-Sim tools and techniques. To close the event there will be a panel discussion regarding possible future directions for ST-Sim.

Audience: Scientists, managers and analysts from any and all land management agencies, including experienced, new and undecided users

Sponsor: The U.S. Geological Survey’s Invasive Species Science Branch

Location: Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, Colorado

Register, or find out more at

Bronwyn Rayfield coauthors publication in Science on network modularity

ApexRMS associate, Dr. Bronwyn Rayfield, recently coauthored a paper in Science on the effect of modularity on the ability of a network to withstand perturbations.  This study is the first that experimentally demonstrates this theoretically predicted property of modular networks. The results have implications for network design across disciplines from ecology and conservation to financial systems.

New publication: Incorporating uncertainty into forest management planning

A newly published article in Forest Ecology and Management by Colin Daniel and others demonstrates the use of ST-Sim as a tool to incorporate uncertainty into forest management planning.  The approach is applied to two boreal forest landscapes in Ontario and quantifies the risk of shortfalls in future timber harvest due to uncertainties in wildfire. The article is available as a free download for a limited time. The ST-Sim model library used for this study is also available.

Projecting the future range of variability in rangelands

ApexRMS recently presented a webinar in collaboration with Dr. Matt Reeves and Dr. Paulette Ford at the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station.  The webinar demonstrates how a state-and-transition simulation modeling approach can be used to account for future uncertainties regarding climate change when evaluating alternative rangeland management strategies. This project focuses on the impacts of drought and grazing on rangeland productivity and composition. A recording of the webinar is available online.

ST-Sim used to project changes in tsunami hazard exposure in the US Pacific Northwest

A recent USGS led publication in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction used ST-Sim to project land use change and associated population growth in tsunami hazard zones along the US Pacific Northwest coast. The study demonstrates how land change simulation modeling can be used by local governments to incorporate the hazard exposure implications of community growth in land use policy and risk reduction planning.

Recent publication of ST-Sim case study in Carbon Balance and Management

A recent publication in the journal Carbon Balance and Management, entitled A carbon balance model for the great dismal swamp ecosystem, uses ST-Sim to assess the historical changes in the net ecosystem carbon balance for a critical 54,000 ha wetland in North Carolina and Virginia. The study, conducted by Rachel Sleeter and others at the U.S. Geological Survey, concludes that changes in the wetland’s carbon balance over the past 30 years, as a result of emissions due to recent fire and storm events, are essentially irreversible over a management timeframe.  Future applications of this model will explore alternative land management scenarios for sequestering additional ecosystem carbon, such as the rewetting of large portions of the wetland.

Interview with Dr Jen Costanza about her research using ST-Sim and LANDFIRE products

LANDFIRE recently conducted an interview with landscape ecologist, Jen Costanza, a professor at North Carolina State University.  Jen has been using ST-Sim in combination with LANDFIRE models to explore the impacts of biofuel production on landscapes and wildlife habitat in the southeastern United States. A news story this month in Science Magazine features Jen’s collaborator Robert Abt, and mentions their recent article in Global Change Biology Bioenergy.

Video tutorials on running spatially explicit models in ST-Sim

We have recently released three new video tutorials on developing spatially explicit state-and-transition simulation models (STSMs) using ST-Sim. These tutorials are based on a simple STSM example published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, and build up on the original tutorial on developing a non-spatial model in ST-Sim.

ST-Sim based study of California land use and water demand featured in Water Deeply

Water Deeply recently featured an article on a USGS and Nature Conservancy study using ST-Sim to account for potential land use impacts on water demand in California.  In the article, Tamara Wilson, the lead author of the study is interviewed and provides her perspective on the study implications for water management in California.