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Búmodel: an environmental simulation model of historical land management in the North Atlantic

Búmodel is an environmental simulation model that facilitates the integration of landscape ecology, environmental archaeology and historical analysis. The purpose of the model is to predict spatial and temporal patterns of vegetation biomass and production and utilisation (grazing, hay making) in a historical landscape. The model has been parameterised using contemporary and historical agricultural and vegetation information for Iceland. Model inputs can be derived from different sources:

Búmodel can be loosely coupled with a geographic information system (GIS) so that spatially-based model inputs and outputs can be displayed and analysed in map form.

Búmodel was developed in the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling by Amanda Thomson, a doctoral student, now at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Two versions of the model are available:

Búmodel 1 excel icon (excel spreadsheet 5.20MB) – this is the original model described in Thomson and Simpson (2006), sheep are the only livestock included
Búmodel 2 excel icon (excel spreadsheet 2.23MB)– also includes cattle and horses and additional management options. However, please note that these additional management options have not been fully tested or validated.

A basic handbook for Búmodel is available here Bumodel Manual(PDF 81KB)

So far the model has been applied in Iceland (Thomson and Simpson, 2006; Thomson and Simpson, in press) and the Faeroe Islands (Thomson et al., 2005), and could potentially be applied in similar areas of the North Atlantic, for example south west Greenland. A full description of the modelling project can be found in Amanda’s thesis (Thomson, 2003).

Sample input files for the Hofstaðir farm estate, Mývatn, northern Iceland
Spreadsheet of 1709 vegetation and livestock inputs excel icon (excel spreadsheet 30KB)
GIS files

ESRI polygon shapefile of 1709 vegetation reconstruction zip icon (Zipped file 34KB)
Geographic projection, Hjorsey datum, 1:50 000 scale
ESRI shapefile of 25 hectare model cells covering the estate zip icon (Zipped file 8KB)
Geographic projection, Hjorsey datum, 1:50 000 scale

This link gives information on the geographic projections used in Iceland, provided by the National Land Survey of Iceland. http://www.lmi.is/landsurvey.nsf/htmlPages/goproweb0190.html

Thomson, A.M., 2003. A modelling approach to farm management and vegetation degradation in pre-modern Iceland. PhD Thesis, University of Stirling, Stirling, 301 pp. http://dspace.stir.ac.uk/dspace/handle/1893/23
Thomson, A.M. and Simpson, I.A., 2006. A grazing model for simulating the impact of historical land management decisions in sensitive landscapes: Model design and validation. Environmental Modelling and Software, 21: 1096-1113. DOI:10.1016/j.envsoft.2005.05.008
Thomson, A.M. and Simpson, I.A., in press. Modeling historic rangeland management and grazing pressures in landscapes of settlement. Human Ecology.
Thomson, A.M., Simpson, I.A. and Brown, J.L., 2005. Sustainable rangeland grazing in Norse Faroe. Human Ecology, 33(5): 737-761. DOI: 10.1007/s10745-005-7596-x