Lecture 20: Landscape

Landscape – heterogeneous area consisting of distinctive patches
Landscape element – distinctive patches within a landscape
Landscape ecology – study of relationships between spatial patterns and ecological processes over a range of scales.
Landscape structure – the size, shape, composition, number, and position of patches within landscape
Patch – a landscape element that is a relatively homogenous area that differs from its surroundings
Matrix – the landscape element within a landscape mosaic that is most continuous spatially
Fractal geometry – a method to describe dimension of diverse natural objects
Landscape processes – exchange of materials, energy, or organisms among patches or elements that make up a landscape
Affected by –

  •  Fragmented landscapes = dispersal of organisms
  •  Patch size = isolation and density of populations
  •  Habitat corridors = movement of organisms
  •  Landscape position = distribution of resources

Landform – a distinctive feature on the earth’s surface

Landscape engineers – organisms that alter or modify landscapes

Landscape position can effect ecosystem properties:

  •  Water availability
  •  Nutrient cycling
  •  Concentration of nutrient

Origins of landscape structure and change:

  •  Geological processes
  •  Climate
  •  Activities of organisms
  •  Fire

Geological processes affect landscape structure:

  •  Ex. Volcanoes, sediments, erosions
  •  As geologic surfaces change, different environmental conditions emerge
  •  Climate affects landscape structure

Climate and landscape structure:

  •  Terrestrial Environment
  •  Shapes the landscape
  •  Makes soils
  •  Redistibutes resources
  •  Creates habitat patches
  •  Sets main template for landscape structure
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