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Comprehension of biological tissue ablation by short laser pulses in a broad optical spectrum is of fundamental importance to the understanding of laser-tissue interaction and advancing surgical applications of lasers. We report a new plasma ablation model in which the chromophore ionization pathway is incorporated to explain the skin tissue ablation by nanosecond laser pulses from ultraviolet to near-infrared. A rate equation is solved to examine the effects of chromophore, cascade, and multiphoton ionization on the optical breakdown of the tissue. The wavelength and spot size dependence of the breakdown thresholds have been measured and agreements have been found between the calculated and measured results.