Quo vadis, smallholder forest landscape? An introduction to the LPB-RAP model

S Holler, D Kübler, O Conrad, O Schmitz, C Bonannella, T Hengl, J Böhner, S Günter, M Lippe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The impacts of the Anthropocene on climate and biodiversity pose societal and ecological problems that may only be solved by ecosystem restoration. Local to regional actions are required, which need to consider the prevailing present and future conditions of a certain landscape extent. Modeling approaches can be of help to support management efforts and to provide advice to policy making. We present stage one of the LaForeT-PLUC-BE model (Landscape Forestry in the Tropics–PCRaster Land Use Change–Biogeographic & Economic model; in short: LPB) and its thematic expansion module RAP (Restoration Areas Potentials). LPB-RAP is a high-resolution pixel-based scenario tool that relies on a range of explicit land use types (LUTs) to describe various forest types and the environment. It simulates and analyzes future landscape configurations under consideration of climate, population and land use change long-term. Simulated Land Use Land Cover Change (LULCC) builds on dynamic, probabilistic modeling incorporating climatic and anthropogenic determinants as well as restriction parameters to depict a sub-national regional smallholder-dominated forest landscape. The model delivers results for contrasting scenario settings by simulating without and with potential Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) measures. FLR potentials are depicted by up to five RAP-LUTs. The model builds on user-defined scenario inputs, such as the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) and Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP). Model application is here exemplified for the SSP2-RCP4.5 scenario in the time frame 2018–2100 on the hectare scale in annual resolution using Esmeraldas province, Ecuador, as a case study area. The LPB-RAP model is a novel, heuristic Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) tool for smallholder-dominated forest landscapes, supporting near-time top-down planning measures with long-term bottom-up modeling. Its application should be followed up by FLR on-site investigations and stakeholder participation across all involved scales.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0297439
Number of pages29
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2 February
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2024


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