Tools and approaches

Some of the models we are working with are in obsolete programming languages. Some are available only in printed form. Many are restricted to a narrowly-defined range of conditions. Most lack user-friendly interfaces and adequate documentation to allow other users to adapt them.
We are converting them to a "future-proof" format using a markup language (XML) approach, from which research groups can re-implement the models or parts of them in the format of their choice.
To do this, we are using the Simile modelling environment. This environment has been developed to overcome the problems involved in implementing plant and ecological simulation models using conventional programming languages. It has a visual modelling interface, and allows models to be largely self-documenting.