R has been widely used by ecologists. It is a powerful language to build statistical models. However, R applications in landscape ecology are relatively limited. In this model clinic, we will introduce R programming and two recently developed packages “NLMR” and “landscapetools” in generating and visualizing neutral landscapes.
Neutral models are useful tools for testing the effect of different spatial processes on observed patterns, as they create landscape patterns in the absence of specific processes. Comparisons between a landscape model and a neutral model simulation will provide insights into how these specific processes affect landscape patterns. Different algorithms exist to generate neutral landscapes and they have been traditionally included in different programs. Now the NLMR package in R integrated all these different algorithms into one place.
In addition to providing instructions on how to use R, “NLMR and “landscapetools packages”, we will showcase real-world examples on neutral landscapes’ applications in ecology, such as predicting coastal wetland change in response to sea-level rise.