Landscape Ecology

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Landscape Ecology

Landscape Ecology


Landscape ecology is a relatively young field drawn from the subjects of ecology, geography, and landscape architecture. It focuses on the relationships between landscape patterns and ecological processes across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. Human interactions are strongly emphasized, given the often-dominant influence of humanity on landscape composition, structure, and functionality.

In the past twenty to thirty years, a variety of pattern indices and modelling techniques has been developed to study the heterogeneous, dynamic, human-modified ecosystems across the globe. Research has cast light on ecological conservation, natural resource management, landscape and urban planning, and sustainable land use in many European, North American, Oceanic, and most of the Asian countries. (WSSD, 2002)

Given the diversity of definitions of landscape, it is useful to ask a few conceptual questions before choosing the most appropriate research methods. For example, is landscape most usefully defined to clearly distinguish it from related concepts such as place, environment, ecology and region? In making such distinctions, might it not make sense to retain the relative narrowness, human scale and vantage point of some of the more common definitions? Differing ways of answering the question 'What are landscapes?' will lead to differing ways of studying them. Methodologies should ideally be open-ended and empirically grounded such that the resulting research will offer fresh perspectives on ontological issues while pointing to refined methods of research. (Forman, 1995)


For the purpose of research, Sherwood is selected, which would be analyzed on the various aspects of cultural, environmental and social factors. (Piussi & Farrell, 2000)

Landscape structure

Landscape pattern metrics are now incorporated in GIS software packages. It facilitates the analysis of spatial patterns for the landscape where geographic data are readily available through GIS and remote sensing databases.

Sherwood is based around the Clipstone Forest, in the English Midlands. It is a lowland forest landscape situated in the southern part of Britain. Much of the area of present Sherwood woodland is covered with plantations. Most of these comprise of the non-native conifers. Sherwood Forests is a complex landscape in terms of landscape geography. It is a mixture of woodland patches, which are largely surrounded by arable land. (Hansson, Fahrig, & Merriam, 1995)

A variety of size, edge, shape, diversity, and contagion metrics are used to measure and locate the landscape.

Size is related to the area of patches. Sherwood forests stretch over an enormous area in the Southern Britain. They cover about 150 square kilometres of land.

Edge describes the characteristics of the patch perimeter versus the patch core area. The Sherwood forests have a condensed patch core are in comparison to the patch perimeter. This is because it is very dense.

Shape indicates the complexity of a patch compared with a circle or square. All three metrics can be measured at the patch, class, and landscape levels. The shape of the forest outstretch is more of an oval circular shape than being a rectangular or square. (Mekouar & Castelein, 2002)„

Some researchers see landscape as a form of ...
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