This special issue contains a group of eight modeling studies covering a range of ecological and economic systems and problems. The models were all developed using Stella®, an icon-based software package specifically designed for dynamic systems modeling. Models included in the special issue were built to describe and analyze: communities of organisms under the effects of random variability in disturbance rates and episodic disturbances; a spatially explicit metapopulation of white-tailed deer in a simulated landscape; a parcel level study of landcover change for smallholders in Altamira, Brazil; a discrete-time age structured single species fishery with dynamic total allowable catch limits; a metapopulation with an Alee effect driven to extinction by environmental stochasticity; seasonal deciduous forest growth to compare with remote sensing data (NDVI); herbivorous consumers in the Great Bay Estuary (New Hampshire); and dynamic patterns of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon in relation to the value of ecosystem services. Most of the models described in this issue are available for download from http://iee.umces.edu/DMEES/Arch. A run time only version of Stella for Windows or the Macintosh is available for free to run the models from www.hps-inc.com.