The Human Perception of Changes

Changes occur at every level of the ecological organization from individuals to the entire biosphere, but also at every time resolution. This is one of the main characters of the complexity of the ecological systems (see Manson 2001).

The life span of landscape patterns as perceived by humans (in space and time) is considered an important metric to evaluate the rate of changes that have occurred in the spatial configuration of land mosaics.

Memory of changes can be stored in several devices by man, and this can help us to change the short-term capacity of man to perceive changes. When you observe the picture of your driving license, your comment is always "My God, how young I was!" But this is not appreciated when every morning we see our face in the mirror! This means that changes can be evaluated only if the comparison can be done on a time interval sufficient to appreciate the differences. We perceive the turnover of land spatial configurations because we can resume the history and memory of land mosaics (e.g. using maps, airplane, or satellite images) and because we have the tools (e.g. GIS), to compare the different configurations.

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