DIMO, a plant dispersal model

G.W.W. Wamelink, R. Jochem, J.G.M. van der Greft, J. Franke, A.H. Malinowska, W. Geertsema, A.H. Prins, W.A. Ozinga, D.C.J. van der Hoek, C.J. Grashof-Bokdam

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Due to human activities many natural habitats have become isolated. As a result the dispersal of many plant species is hampered. Isolated populations may become extinct and have a lower probability to become reestablished in a natural way. Moreover, plant species may be forced to migrate to new areas due to climate change. Species survival in these cases may depend on increasing the connectivity of the landscape by engineering. To investigate and to predict the effects of isolation on the dispersal abilities of plant species, to increase spatial cohesion of a habitat network, to advise policy makers and spatial planners, we developed a simple GIS based dispersal model, DIMO. The model simulates dispersal and establishment of plant populations over a period of time in heterogeneous landscapes on a yearly basis. The model includes proxies for dispersal by wind, animals, water, and self-dispersal. Species establishment is based on habitat suitability maps and simulations include the effect of seed dormancy and generation time. A sensitivity analysis and validation were carried out. The model was validated with Juncus tenuis, an introduced species in the Netherlands. On average the difference between observed and simulated dispersal distance was 9.8 km for a distance of 155 km. The model was applied for a designed corridor in the South of the Netherlands. Model runs indicate that three of the five tested species were able to use the corridor. Two species could not, both due to lack of suitable habitat and one of them also due to lack of dispersal capacity. The results suggest that DIMO is able to evaluate the effectiveness of corridors, but also made clear that besides connectivity the present and future availability of suitable habitats in a corridor is of great importance. The model could be helpful for evaluating policy plans but also for policy making. It may be used for defining and implementation of adaptation measures to climate change on regional to continental scale. Key-words: dispersal, germination, spatial-explicit modeling, climate change, landscape fragmentation, ecological networks
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWOT Natuur & Milieu
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

PublisherStatutory Research Tasks Unit for Nature & the Environment (WOT Natuur & Milieu)
ISSN (Print)1879-4688


  • habitat corridors
  • vegetation
  • dispersion
  • landscape ecology
  • models


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