A landscape may be considered a geographical and/or an ecological space in which organisms live, and it may be heterogeneous in terms of resource availability. Landscape can be utilized as a powerful model to investigate dynamics of landforms, organisms, and human activities (i.e., land uses). “Landscape dynamics” refers to every change that occurs in the physical, biological, and cognitive assets of a landscape. Landscape dynamics are driven by external perturbations, such as eruptions, earthquakes, erosion, extreme climate events, fires, and human intrusion—and by internal perturbations, such as physical flows of matter and energy, succession, population fluctuations, and community turnover. Landscape dynamics involve properties of the landscape, such as stability, persistence, resistance, resilience, and recovery, that operate along a broad range of temporal and spatial scales, such as shifting mosaic steady-state, and equilibrium spatial properties. Landscape dynamics are very important for land management and conservation. Considering the complexity of the processes that occur in the landscape and the different scales at which individuals, populations, and communities respond to environmental constraints, the investigation of landscape dynamics must be conducted with robust conceptualization and accurate modeling (see Modeling Landscape Dynamics). In particular, landscape dynamics can be investigated at discontinuities or ecotones (see Landscape Dynamics and Climate Change and Landscape Dynamics and Urban/Rural Edges), or by assessing the level of connectivity (see Corridor Dynamics). Rural landscape is a better candidate for investigating the dynamics of the land mosaic, while undisturbed systems like tropical or boreal forests require a gradient analysis (see Land Use Changes and Land Abandonment). New relevant scenarios to investigate and interpret landscape dynamics are offered by natural and anthropogenic sounds, as proxies of several ecological functions (Ecoacoustic Dynamics).
Landscape dynamics are the major focus in landscape studies where spatial processes affect ecological processes (Forman and Godron 1981). At the end of the 1980s, after the publication of the seminal book Landscape Ecology (Naveh and Lieberman 1984) and the founding of the journal Landscape Ecology by Frank Golley, the interests of many ecologists and architects converged into the new field of landscape ecology. To understand and interpret the complex physical, biological, and cognitive phenomena of landscapes, it was necessary to operate conceptually and practically within a broad range of spatial and temporal scales (Farina 2006, Farina 2010). Neutral models opened the way to spatial dynamics simulations, especially in forested areas (Gardner and Urban 2007). Several concepts used in ecosystems and population ecology, such as hierarchy theory (Allen and Starr 1982; O’Neill, et al. 1992), the source-sink model (Pulliam 1988), and metapopulation dynamics (Hanski 1999), combined with spatial scaling of patterns and processes (Wiens 1989) were adapted to the new field of landscape ecology. Spatial processes rapidly became a new field of research. In particular, land use changes became one of the most popular themes. Many concepts utilized by ecosystem ecology have been reused with a landscape perspective, but many others, like dynamics at ecotones and the role of corridors, pertain directly to the landscape approach. The human dimension of the landscape and its interaction with economics and social development has become a dominant theme. Fragmentation and human disturbance often act upon the same area and allow us to investigate natural processes like succession and man-made modification of natural assets. Hierarchy (vertical and horizontal) is a central concept to interpret landscape dynamics. Hierarchical conceptualization helps to better understand processes visible at a certain scale that are in contemporary relation or influenced by elements observed at other scales. The river system is an example of a hierarchical system, where the main basin is composed of a hierarchy of sub-basins where different ecological processes contribute to the overall complexity and dynamics (Thomaz, et al. 2016).
Allen, T. F. H., and T. B. Starr. 1982. Hierarchy: Perspectives for ecological complexity. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
Environmental complexity is the result of a hierarchy of patterns and related processes that operate at different interacting scales.
Farina, A. 2006. Principles and methods in landscape ecology. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.
Landscapes are described as hierarchical systems, with different patterns and processes emerging at each level.
Farina, A. 2010. Ecology, cognition and landscape. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.
Landscape concepts are reviewed according to ecological, biosemiotic, and cognitive theory.
Forman, R. T., and M. Godron. 1981. Patches and structural components for a landscape ecology. BioScience 31.10: 733–740.
A landscape is an ensemble of patches of different origin and dynamics where size, shape, and spatial configuration have fundamental roles, made more complex by ecotones and human settlements.
Gardner, R. H., and D. L. Urban. 2007. Neutral models for testing landscape hypotheses. Landscape Ecology 22.1: 15–29.
Neutral models, spatially explicit, have been used to test landscape dynamics.
Hanski, I. 1999. Metapopulation ecology. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
Metapopulation models and theories are presented and accompanied by empirical studies.
Naveh, Z., and A. S. Lieberman. 1984. Landscape ecology: Theory and application. New York: Springer-Verlag.
A seminal textbook on the fundamentals of landscape ecology, interpreted in a holistic way.
O’Neill, R. V., R. H. Gardner, and M. G. Turner. 1992. A hierarchical neutral model for landscape analysis. Landscape Ecology 7:55–61.
Random maps assure useful neutral models for landscape problems. Organisms supported by a suitable habitat at local scale could impede movements at higher scale. A multiscale approach is recommended to evaluate the persistence and stability of ecological problems.
Pulliam, H. R. 1988. Sources, sinks, and population regulation. American Naturalist 132.5: 652–661.
A fundamental model for interpreting the heterogeneous distribution of resources across a landscape, and the consequences for population dynamics (emigration, extinction).
Thomaz, A. T., M. R. Christie, and L. L. Knowles. 2016. The architecture of river networks can drive the evolutionary dynamics of aquatic populations. Evolution 70:731–739.
Physical landscapes have a great influence on genetic variation within and between populations. Using a spatially explicit agent-based modeling (ABM) approach, the authors investigated the effects of dendritic river shapes on local population structure. Genetic diversity increased twenty-fold, and the genetic differentiation between local populations, seven-fold.
Wiens, J. 1989. Spatial scaling in ecology. Functional Ecology 3:385–397.
The importance of scale in landscape is discussed in terms of organism distribution.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Accounting for Ecological Capital
- Adaptive Radiation
- Allocation of Reproductive Resources in Plants
- Animals, Functional Morphology of
- Animals, Reproductive Allocation in
- Animals, Thermoregulation in
- Antarctic Environments and Ecology
- Applied Ecology
- Aquatic Conservation
- Aquatic Nutrient Cycling
- Archaea, Ecology of
- Assembly Models
- Bacterial Diversity in Freshwater
- Benthic Ecology
- Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning
- Biodiversity Patterns in Agricultural Systms
- Biological Chaos and Complex Dynamics
- Biome, Alpine
- Biome, Boreal
- Biome, Desert
- Biome, Grassland
- Biome, Savanna
- Biome, Tundra
- Biomes, African
- Biomes, East Asian
- Biomes, Mountain
- Biomes, North American
- Biomes, South Asian
- Braun, E. Lucy
- Bryophyte Ecology
- Butterfly Ecology
- Carson, Rachel
- Chemical Ecology
- Classification Analysis
- Coastal Dune Habitats
- Communities and Ecosystems, Indirect Effects in
- Communities, Top-Down and Bottom-Up Regulation of
- Community Concept, The
- Community Ecology
- Community Genetics
- Community Phenology
- Competition and Coexistence in Animal Communities
- Competition in Plant Communities
- Complexity Theory
- Conservation Biology
- Conservation Genetics
- Coral Reefs
- Darwin, Charles
- Dead Wood in Forest Ecosystems
- De-Glaciation, Ecology of
- Disease Ecology
- Drought as a Disturbance in Forests
- Early Explorers, The
- Earth’s Climate, The
- Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics
- Ecological Dynamics in Fragmented Landscapes
- Ecological Engineering
- Ecological Forecasting
- Ecological Informatics
- Ecological Relevance of Speciation
- Ecology, Microbial (Community)
- Ecology of Emerging Zoonotic Viruses
- Ecosystem Ecology
- Ecosystem Engineers
- Ecosystem Multifunctionality
- Ecosystem Services
- Ecosystem Services, Conservation of
- Elton, Charles
- Endophytes, Fungal
- Energy Flow
- Environmental Anthropology
- Environmental Justice
- Environments, Extreme
- Ethics, Ecological
- European Natural History Tradition
- Evolutionarily Stable Strategies
- Facilitation and the Organization of Communities
- Fern and Lycophyte Ecology
- Fire Ecology
- Food Webs
- Foraging Behavior, Implications of
- Foraging, Optimal
- Forests, Temperate Coniferous
- Forests, Temperate Deciduous
- Freshwater Invertebrate Ecology
- Genetic Considerations in Plant Ecological Restoration
- Genomics, Ecological
- Geographic Range
- Gleason, Henry
- Grazer Ecology
- Greig-Smith, Peter
- Gymnosperm Ecology
- Habitat Selection
- Harper, John L.
- Harvesting Alternative Water Resources (US West)
- Heavy Metal Tolerance
- Himalaya, Ecology of the
- Host-Parasitoid Interactions
- Human Ecology
- Human Ecology of the Andes
- Human-Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence
- Hutchinson, G. Evelyn
- Indigenous Ecologies
- Industrial Ecology
- Insect Ecology, Terrestrial
- Introductory Sources
- Invasive Species
- Island Biogeography Theory
- Island Biology
- Keystone Species
- Kin Selection
- Landscape Dynamics
- Landscape Ecology
- Laws, Ecological
- Legume-Rhizobium Symbiosis, The
- Leopold, Aldo
- Lichen Ecology
- Life History
- Literature, Ecology and
- MacArthur, Robert H.
- Mangrove Zone Ecology
- Marine Fisheries Management
- Mathematical Ecology
- Mating Systems
- Maximum Sustainable Yield
- Metabolic Scaling Theory
- Metacommunity Dynamics
- Metapopulations and Spatial Population Processes
- Microclimate Ecology
- Multiple Stable States and Catastrophic Shifts in Ecosyste...
- Mutualisms and Symbioses
- Mycorrhizal Ecology
- Natural History Tradition, The
- Networks, Ecological
- Niche Versus Neutral Models of Community Organization
- Nutrient Foraging in Plants
- Odum, Eugene and Howard
- Old Fields
- Ordination Analysis
- Organic Agriculture, Ecology of
- Parental Care, Evolution of
- Pastures and Pastoralism
- Patch Dynamics
- Phenotypic Selection
- Philosophy, Ecological
- Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods
- Physiological Ecology of Nutrient Acquisition in Animals
- Physiological Ecology of Photosynthesis
- Physiological Ecology of Water Balance in Terrestrial Anim...
- Physiological Ecology of Water Balance in Terrestrial Plan...
- Plant Blindness
- Plant Disease Epidemiology
- Plant Ecological Responses to Extreme Climatic Events
- Plant-Insect Interactions
- Polar Regions
- Pollination Ecology
- Population Dynamics, Density-Dependence and Single-Species
- Population Dynamics, Methods in
- Population Ecology, Animal
- Population Ecology, Plant
- Population Fluctuations and Cycles
- Population Genetics
- Population Viability Analysis
- Populations and Communities, Dynamics of Age- and Stage-St...
- Predation and Community Organization
- Predator-Prey Interactions
- Reductionism Versus Holism
- Religion and Ecology
- Remote Sensing
- Restoration Ecology
- Ricketts, Edward Flanders Robb
- Secondary Production
- Seed Ecology
- Serpentine Soils
- Shelford, Victor
- Simulation Modeling
- Soil Biogeochemistry
- Soil Ecology
- Spatial Pattern Analysis
- Spatial Patterns of Species Biodiversity in Terrestrial En...
- Spatial Scale and Biodiversity
- Species Distribution Modeling
- Species Extinctions
- Species Responses to Climate Change
- Species-Area Relationships
- Stability and Ecosystem Resilience, A Below-Ground Perspec...
- Stochastic Processes
- Stoichiometry, Ecological
- Stream Ecology
- Sustainable Development
- Systematic Conservation Planning
- Systems Ecology
- Tansley, Sir Arthur
- Terrestrial Nitrogen Cycle
- Terrestrial Resource Limitation
- Theory and Practice of Biological Control
- Thermal Ecology of Animals
- Tragedy of the Commons
- Trophic Levels
- Tropical Humid Forest Biome
- Urban Ecology
- Vegetation Classification
- Vegetation Mapping
- Vicariance Biogeography
- Weed Ecology
- Wetland Ecology
- Whittaker, Robert H.
- Wildlife Ecology