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For Better Ecosystem Management

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For Better Ecosystem Management

When considering ecosystem management strategies of public lands, predictive tools are necessary to provide quality assessments of complex ecological dynamics, especially when the land is subjected to multiple uses, stakeholders, and regulatory constraints. Ecological DYnamics Simulation (EDYS) is an ecosystem simulation model that accommodates process complexities of ecological dynamics at spatial and temporal scales and evaluates management alternatives by assessing changes in landscape components.

Simulate Complex Dynamics

EDYS helps decision makers in selecting defensible land management strategies to best meet difficult ecosystem management objectives, given complex regulatory constraints, and variable climatic and disturbance scenarios. Designed to mechanistically simulate complex ecological dynamics across spatial scales ranging from plots (square meters) to landscape and watershed (square kilometers) levels, EDYS modules include:

  • Climatic simulators
  • Hydrology
  • Soil profile
  • Nutrient and contaminant cycles
  • Plant community dynamics
  • Herbivory
  • Animal dynamics
  • Management activities
  • Natural/anthropogenic disturbances

Wide Variety of Applications

EDYS is a proven tool for accurate modeling and simulation that has been applied in a wide range of ecological and environmental scenarios, including military training, recreational activities, grazing, natural and prescribed burns, fire suppression, road/trail building and closure, invasive plants inventory and eradication, drought assessment, water quality/quantity, reclamation, restoration and revegetation, land cover design, and slope stability.

Success Stories

Cibolo Creek Watershed in San Antonio, TX

EDYS was applied for the Fort Worth District on a General Investigations study to help evaluate flood damage reduction and ecological restoration alternatives in the Cibolo Creek watershed near San Antonio, Texas.  The results provided managers and their sponsors with defensible information that allowed them to formulate a plan to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the watershed to achieve both reduced flood damage and stability in base flow of Cibolo Creek.

Data Requirements

Typical inputs to each EDYS application include spatial data, (i.e., grid-based GIS data sets), historical climatic data, soil profile parameters, plant/animal parameters, management practices, and specifications for user-defined endpoint data. “First pass” calibration of the model is facilitated by the EDYS database, which contains soil, plant, management, and disturbance parameters compiled from the ecological literature and global ongoing EDYS applications.

Technology Requirements

  • Software: EDYS is distributed as an executable file and associated binary data files. Because designation of scenarios and management alternatives for each simulation run is conducted within a Microsoft Windows user interface, EDYS must reside on Microsoft Windows 97, 98, 2000, or NT platforms. EDYS produces as an option a series of comma-delimited text files that can be imported into spreadsheet software packages for review and reproduction.
  • Hardware: EDYS will run on any PC with a Microsoft Windows 97, 98, 2000, or NT 4.0+ operating system. The computer should have an Intel Pentium II processor or better, with at least 64MB RAM and at least 500MB of empty space on the hard drive for file swapping during the simulation run to accommodate the intensity of data processing. Outputs include graphical displays as well as extensive tabular files for all ecosystem components within the Microsoft Windows user interface, so any VGA or better graphics card and monitor is necessary to provide satisfactory results.


Executable versions of EDYS applications are available on request for evaluation purposes from the authors. Regional applications will be made available for general use as they are available.

ERDC Points of Contact

Questions about EDYS?
Contact: Dr. David Price
Email: David.L.Price@usace.army.mil
Phone: 601-634-4874

drought assessment ecological dynamics ecological dynamics simulation ecological simulation ecosystem management fire suppression invasive plants inventory and eradication land cover design land management military training reclamation restoration and revegetation road/trail building and closure slope stability