Human perception of environmental complexity is only a partial part of the reality and often we are tempted to limit our investigation to our scale. This could be adequate for our purpose, but, when we project our interest beyond our perception, we have to modify our paradigms and beliefs.
Which part of the environmental complexity is created and maintained by a mosaic? To reply to this question we have to investigate the role played by the interaction of the patches. Such interaction (intraspecific or interspecific) produces emergent characters that can be intercepted by the species, or allow the organization of new communities.
The intraspecific mosaic is represented by patches of the same type that are separated by patches of other types. Every patch is not in direct contact with all the others but is influenced to a certain extent by their distance. In landscape ecology we call this effect connectedness. In reality connectedness is a measure of a pattern (the physical distance between patches), and it is not a process. On the other hand, connectivity is the measure of distance between patches when these are calibrated by processes or organisms.
Connectivity is an emerging property of every mosaic when intercepted by an organism. We will discuss this in greater detail where the paradigm of the ecotone will be described.
Connectivity may be an important element for a species living in a mosaic and meta-population theory approaches this problematic. Generally, meta-population theory refers to mobile animals like butterflies and birds.
When we are dealing with plants, the distance between patches composed of the same species can play a fundamental role in keeping the local population in good shape by cross-breeding and thus avoiding inbreeding.
The mosaic structure assures a high level of dynamic for organisms and their aggregations and allows energy to cross different levels of the hierarchical structure degrading in entropic processes or upgrading by neg-entropic processes.
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