Landscape ecology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Ecological systems are spatially heterogeneous on a wide range of scales. Landscape ecology is the science and art of studying and improving the relationship between spatial pattern and ecological processes across scales and organizational levels. In a broad sense, landscape ecology represents both a field of study and an ecological paradigm. As a highly interdisciplinary research field, landscape ecology integrates biophysical and analytical approaches with humanistic and holistic perspectives across natural and social sciences. Landscapes are spatially heterogeneous geographic areas characterized by diverse interacting patches or ecosystems, ranging from relatively natural terrestrial and aquatic systems such as forests, grasslands and lakes to human-dominated systems including agricultural and urban areas. As a paradigm, landscape ecology is characterized by its explicit emphasis on the causes, processes, and ecological consequences of spatial heterogeneity on multiple scales. Thus, the relationship between pattern, process and scale has been the focus of most landscape ecological investigations since the 1980s. Ecological flows in landscape mosaics, land use and land cover change, scaling, relating landscape pattern analysis with ecological processes, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, and landscape sustainability are all among the key research topics in modern landscape ecology. During the past decades, landscape ecology perspectives have become pervasive in almost all areas of ecology, and increasingly important to biodiversity conservation, resource management, and landscape and urban planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Ecology
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780444641304
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Land use and land cover change
  • Landscape sustainability
  • Patch dynamics
  • Pattern-process relationship
  • Sale and scaling
  • Spatial heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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