The Nature of Ecotones

We can use many definitions for ecotone concepts, but we prefer to consider an ecotone more as a paradigm than a structure. In fact only if we recognize the heterogeneous and patchy nature of a landscape/habitat/ecosystem, can we utilize the ecotone as a proto-principle.

The ecotone may be considered according to different points of view as:

the border between two patches, the border between two levels of dynamism, the border between two different states of biological complexity.

Ecotones are everywhere and are indeed the internal as well as the borders of the ecological mosaics! But internal borders generally have lower potential information to transfer between patches than external borders that surround a mosaic distinguishing unique emerging properties (Fig. 6.4).

Such a border in general has a difference of potential like a cellular membrane. The ecotones are the physical location in which a mosaic can be recognized and in which many functions of complex systems are working.

Ecotones have a high level of information, and their predictability is very low. The amount of ecotones in a matrix produces significant effects on the functioning of the entire mosaic in which they are embedded.

The ecotone paradigm is strictly linked to shape and size of fragments and to the effects of such patterns on the functions of many organisms.

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