Emerging trajectories for spatial pattern analysis in landscape ecology

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Abstract

Context: Landscape ecology is an interdisciplinary field, drawing on theories and methods from across the physical, natural, and social sciences. Spatial pattern analysis was built on this foundation of interdisciplinarity, and these connections continue to foster new trajectories in the field. Objectives: Using the Isserman Curve (i.e., the innovation-adoption or cumulative knowledge curve) as a framing device, this paper examines how interdisciplinary perspectives continue to help de-lock from periods of incremental improvement in spatial pattern analysis and launch new, transformative directions for describing and analyzing spatial patterns. Results: Examples of interdisciplinary perspectives from three fields are discussed alongside the promising trajectories being launched. These include: (1) microscopy and surface metrology, which are contributing methods for analyzing spatial patterns in gradient surfaces, (2) thermodynamics and information theory, which contribute a foundation for measuring entropy and an understanding of how landscape patterns are governed by the central organizing principles of nature, and (3) regional studies, which utilizes alternative conceptualizations of proximity that may be applied to graph-based approaches to better incorporate functional connectivity. Conclusions: Landscape ecology’s interdisciplinary roots have been instrumental for developing innovative approaches to spatial pattern analysis, and outside perspectives continue to add richly to development efforts today. During periods of incremental improvement, landscape ecologists have drawn from other disciplines to create new seedbeds for ideas. While many trajectories may emerge, there is no rule that only one must become dominant. Blending multiple perspectives and ideas together into mutually supportive structures is helping the field move beyond the status quo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2073-2082
Number of pages10
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume34
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

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Keywords

  • Entropy
  • Landscape metrics
  • Proximity
  • Surface metrics
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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