19. Modelling Landscape Evolution

  1. John Wainwright2 and
  2. Mark Mulligan3
  1. Peter van der Beek

Published Online: 31 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118351475.ch19

Environmental Modelling: Finding Simplicity in Complexity, Second Edition

Environmental Modelling: Finding Simplicity in Complexity, Second Edition

How to Cite

van der Beek, P. (2013) Modelling Landscape Evolution, in Environmental Modelling: Finding Simplicity in Complexity, Second Edition (eds J. Wainwright and M. Mulligan), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118351475.ch19

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Geography, Durham University, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK

  2. 3

    Department of Geography, King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK

Author Information

  1. Laboratoire de Géodynamique des Chaînes Alpines, Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 31 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470749111

Online ISBN: 9781118351475



  • geomorphic processes;
  • landscape-evolution models;
  • model algorithms;
  • model calibration;
  • model testing


This chapter reviews the development, application and validity of landscape-evolution or surface-process models. It discusses the construction of landscape-evolution models and the philosophy underlying them. It also describes the prime ingredients of such models: the numerical algorithms describing different geomorphic processes. The chapter subsequently discusses different attempts at, and approaches to, model validation and calibration. It reviews the coupling of surface process models to other numerical models, in particular those predicting tectonic motions in the crust and lithosphere, as well as a number of studies applying landscape-evolution models to specific geomorphic/tectonic contexts. The chapter concludes with a brief perspective of where the field stands today and what directions might be taken in the future.