Examines spatial patterns and their relationship to ecological processes and changes.
Emphasizes the causes and consequences of spatial variation across a range of scales.
Landscape: an area in which at least one element is spatially heterogeneous composed of a dynamic mosaic of interacting ecosystems.
There is a biotic flow between habitat patches in the mosaic as individuals or their gametes like pollen move between them
Landscape composition: the kind of elements or patches in a landscape as well as to how much of each kind is present.
Landscape structure: the physical configuration of different elements that compose the landscape.
The importance of scale is used to characterize a landscape should match the needs of the research question or management issue.
Grain: size of the smallest homogeneous unit of study and determines the resolution that you need to view the landscape
Extent: area or time period encompassed by the study
Habitat loss and fragmentation decrease habitat area, isolate populations, and alter conditions at habitat edges. :
When fragmented, some species go locally extinct because less food, resources, shelter or nesting sites in the fragments, mutualists maybe disrupted.
Matrix between habitat fragments varies in permeability.
Edge effects change abiotic conditions and species abundances in fragments.
Length of habitat boundary increases as the total fragmentation increases.
Fragmentation alters evolutionary processes.
Fragmentation has been shown to increase rates of inbreeding and genetic drift from species confined to fragments. Fragments can also alter selection pressure for some organisms.
Designing Nature Reserves:
Biodiversity can be best be sustained by large reserves connected across the landscape and buffered from areas of intense human use.
Core natural areas should be large and compact
Core natural areas: where conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity take precedence over other values or uses.
Core natural areas should be buffered by compatible land.
Disadvantages: Buffer zones can serve as population sinks because of hurting.
Corridors can help maintain biodiversity: goal is to prevent the isolation of population fragments.
Ecological restoration can increase biodiversity in degrades landscapes.
Humans are an integral part of ecosystems:
Ecosystem management is a collaborative process with the maintenance of long-term ecological integrity as its core value.
Approaches to managing natural resources have become more collaborative over time.
Ecosystem management sets sustainable goals, implement policies, monitors, effectiveness, and adjusts, as necessary.
Limitations: long time to come to decision and lack of unbiased information.
Landscape Ecology Program: The Landscape Ecology Program employs an interdisciplinary approach in monitoring the landscape of Texas. Its objective is to provide ecologically-focused geospatial data for state and federal agencies as well as the public. The team of professionals incorporates ecological principles, field data collection, advanced GIS technology, remote sensing, and user-friendly app development for landscape management and conservation planning.