There is growing appreciation of the important role large herbivores can play in vegetation, ecosystem and landscape dynamics (Hobbs 1996, Danell et al. 2003, Rooney & Waller 2003, and earlier chapters of this volume). In turn, there has been an improved understanding of the importance of landscape pattern for large herbivore dynamics (Turner et al. 1994, Illius & O'Connor 2000, Walters 2001), and research into patterns of animal movement through landscapes (Gross et al. 1995, Schaefer et al. 2000, Johnson et al. 2002). At landscape scales, the large herbivore‐vegetation interaction can be quite complex, involving many interacting factors such as plant competition, landscape pattern, climate, disturbance regimes and biogeochemical cycles. The earlier chapters of this volume demonstrate the complexity of such relationships, and the difficulty in establishing simple generalizations.
Simulation modelling has proved a useful tool for disentangling some of this complexity, and for integrating information across multiple scales. There are numerous modelling approaches, at varying levels of complexity, developed to satisfy different research objectives, for simulating the impacts of large herbivores upon vegetation or vice versa. However, few represent key interactions between the two ecosystem components in a balanced manner.
In this chapter, we review the different modelling approaches for representing large herbivore‐landscape interactions in an integrated way. By integrated models, we refer to modelling approaches that consider vegetation and animal dynamics with similar levels of complexity, bridging the two key components through the ecological process of herbivory.