Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 6
  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: November 2009

11 - Landscape pattern: context and process

from PART III - Landscape patterns

Summary

The analysis of pattern is a fundamental part of landscape ecology. Typically, we view landscape as a mosaic of elements and believe that their spatial arrangement controls or affects the ecological processes that operate within it. Similarly, we claim that landscape pattern itself is generated by other processes operating across such mosaics. As a scientific community, we face the problem that, while we agree about the importance of pattern, we have few theoretical generalizations to help those interested in the conservation or management of landscape resources (Wu and Hobbs, 2000). Much contemporary work on pattern has focused on the analysis or description of spatial geometry and has failed to provide any understanding of the significance or meaning of those patterns. This tendency has been exacerbated by the availability of digital landscape data and GIS algorithms that allow us to rapidly calculate a whole range of landscape metrics.

Some would dispute the claim that landscape ecology has provided few empirical generalizations about pattern. I feel able to make this claim because I too have been tempted down the road of analyzing landscape pattern using the computer-based technologies now widely available (e.g., Haines-Young and Chopping, 1996). My present unease comes from the observation that, while we have had some success in persuading the policy community that landscape ecology should be taken seriously, we have been unable to give much advice about the sensitivity of ecological systems to changes in the structure and composition of landscape mosaics (Opdam, et al., 2001).

References
Countryside Agency (2002). Countryside Character Initiative. www.countryside.gov.uk/LivingLandscapes/countryside_character.
Countryside Commission and English Nature (1996). The Character of England: Landscape, Wildlife and Natural Features. Cheltenham: Countryside Commission.
Forman, R. T. T. (1995). Land Mosaics: The Ecology of Landscapes and Regions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Haines-Young, R. (2000). Sustainable development and sustainable landscapes: defining a new paradigm for landscape ecology. Fennia, 178, 7–14.
Haines-Young, R. H. and Chopping, M. (1996). Quantifying landscape structure: a review of landscape indices and their application to forested landscapes. Progress in Physical Geography, 20, 418–445.
Ingham, D. S. and Samways, M. J. (1996). Application of fragmentation and variegation models to epigaeic invertebrates in South Africa. Conservation Biology, 10, 1353–1358.
Jonsen, I. D. and Fahrig, L. (1997). Response of generalist and specialist insect herbivores to landscape spatial structure. Landscape Ecology, 12, 185–197.
Lavers, C. P., Haines-Young, R. H. and Avery, M. I. (1996). The habitat associations of dunlin (Calidris alpina) in the Flow Country of northern Scotland and an improved model for predicting habitat quality. Journal of Applied Ecology, 33, 279–290.
Lawler, J. J., and Edwards, T. C. (2002). Landscape patterns as habitat predictors: building and testing models for cavity-nesting birds in the Uinta Mountains of Utah, USA. Landscape Ecology, 17, 233–245.
Musick, H. B. and Grover, H. D. (1991). Image texture measures as indices of landscape pattern. In Quantitative Methods in Landscape Ecology, ed. Turner, M. G. and Gardner, R. H.. New York, NY: Springer, pp. 77–103.
Opdam, P., Foppen, R. and Vos, C. (2001). Bridging the gap between ecology and spatial planning in landscape ecology. Landscape Ecology, 16, 767–779.
Perry, G. L. W. (2000). Landscapes, space and equilibrium: shifting viewpoints. Progress in Physical Geography, 26, 339–359.
Pickup, G., Bastin, G. N. and Chewings, V. H. (1998). Identifying trends in land degradation in non-equilibrium rangelands. Journal of Applied Ecology, 35, 365–377.
Skånes, H. (1996). Landscape change and grassland dynamics: retrospective studies based on aerial photographs and old cadastral maps during 200 years in south Sweden. Doctoral dissertation, Stockholm University Department of Physical Geography. University Dissertation Series, 8, III.1–III.51.
Wu, J. and Hobbs, R. (2000). Key issues and research priorities in landscape ecology: an idiosyncratic synthesis. Landscape Ecology, 17, 355–365.