What Is Landscape Ecology

Landscape ecology has been defined in various ways partly because the word 'landscape' means quite different things to people with different scientific and cultural backgrounds. Landscapes are spatial mosaics of interacting biophysical and socioeconomic components (Figure 1). Just as in other ecological disciplines, a spectrum of views exists as to the relative salience or prominence of the two aspects of landscapes. The diversity of perspectives can often be related to the philosophical underpinnings of reductionism versus holism. Nevertheless, few would disagree that landscapes are compositionally diverse and spatially heterogeneous.

A general definition of landscape ecology may be the science and art of studying and improving the relationship between spatial pattern and ecological processes on a multitude of scales and organizational levels. Landscape ecology is not only a field of study, but also represents a new scientific perspective or paradigm that is relevant to a range of ecological, geophysical, and social sciences.

Heterogeneity, scale, pattern-process relationships, hierarchy, disturbance, coupled ecological-social dynamics, and sustainability are among the key concepts in landscape ecology. Typical research questions include: How can spatial heterogeneity be quantified so that it can be related to relevant ecological processes? What are the processes and mechanisms responsible for existing landscape patterns?

Figure 1 Different kinds of landscapes as spatial mosaics of various patches on a range of scales. (a) A forested landscape from North America, (b) an agricultural landscape in Europe, (c) a metropolitan landscape in the Sonoran Desert, USA, and (d) a grassland landscape on the Mongolia Plateau, China. Photo by (a) Tom Spies; (b) Almo Farina; (c, d) Jianguo Wu.

Figure 1 Different kinds of landscapes as spatial mosaics of various patches on a range of scales. (a) A forested landscape from North America, (b) an agricultural landscape in Europe, (c) a metropolitan landscape in the Sonoran Desert, USA, and (d) a grassland landscape on the Mongolia Plateau, China. Photo by (a) Tom Spies; (b) Almo Farina; (c, d) Jianguo Wu.

How does spatial heterogeneity influence the flows of organisms, material, and energy.? How does landscape pattern affect the spread of disturbances such as pest outbreaks, diseases, fires, and invasive species? How do patterns and processes on different scales relate to each other. How can ecological information be translated from fine to broad scales and vice versa. How can the knowledge of spatial heterogeneity help improve biodiversity conservation, planning, and management. How can sustainable landscapes be developed and maintained.

Studies in landscape ecology usually involve the extensive use of spatial information from field survey, aerial photography, and satellite remote sensing, as well as pattern indices, spatial statistics, and computer simulation modeling. The intellectual thrust of this highly interdisciplinary enterprise is to understand the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of spatial heterogeneity, while its ultimate goal is to provide a scientific basis and practical guidelines for developing and maintaining ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable landscapes (Figure 2).

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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