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Landscape Ecology  is the subdiscipline of ecology concerned with the causes and consequences of spatial heterogeneity in ecological processes in landscapes across a range of scales.
dianbai landscape By definition:
Landscapes are areas that are spatially heterogeneous in at least one factor of interest (Forman 1995, Turner et al. 2001).  These factors include the full range of biotic components (plants, animals, microbes), abiotic factors (terrain, soils, hydrology, climate) and their interactions (ecosystem processes). 


Why Study Landscapes?

Dainbai Ecological heterogeneity exists at every spatial scale.  To understand and manage populations, communities and ecosystems, ecologists require spatial tools that can measure, model and mediate ecological processes within and across landscapes, regions and globally.  These are the tools of landscape ecology, which include remote sensing, geographic information systems, and spatial statistics.
Dainbai Humans are changing ecological processes in landscapeswith consequences ranging from local water pollution to global climate change.  As a result, most of Earth's terrestrial surface may now be considered "human dominated" (e.g. Sanderson et al. 2002). Direct and intentional human interaction with landscapes (land use) is responsible for a large proportion of these environmental impacts. 
Dainbai Densely Populated Anthropogenic Landscapes are the most highly impacted of Earth's terrestrial ecosystems.


Forman, R. T. T. 1995. Land Mosaics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge; New York.

Sanderson, E. W., M. Jaiteh, M. A. Levy, K. H. Redford, A. V. Wannebo, and G. Woolmer. 2002. The human footprint and the last of the wild. BioScience 52: 891-904.

Turner, M. G., R. H. Gardner, and R. V. O'Neill. 2001. Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice: Pattern and Process. Springer, New York.