Local modeling approaches, owing to their ability to model different operating regimes of nonlinear systems and processes by independent local models, seem appealing for modeling, identification, and prediction applications. In this paper, we propose a local neuro-fuzzy (LNF) approach based on the least-squares support vector machines (LSSVMs). The proposed LNF approach employs LSSVMs, which are powerful in modeling and predicting time series, as local models and uses hierarchical binary tree (HBT) learning algorithm for fast and efficient estimation of its parameters. The HBT algorithm heuristically partitions the input space into smaller subdomains by axis-orthogonal splits. In each partitioning, the validity functions automatically form a unity partition and therefore normalization side effects, e.g., reactivation, are prevented. Integration of LSSVMs into the LNF network as local models, along with the HBT learning algorithm, yield a high-performance approach for modeling and prediction of complex nonlinear time series. The proposed approach is applied to modeling and predictions of different nonlinear and chaotic real-world and hand-designed systems and time series. Analysis of the prediction results and comparisons with recent and old studies demonstrate the promising performance of the proposed LNF approach with the HBT learning algorithm for modeling and prediction of nonlinear and chaotic systems and time series.