Landscape Ecology: The Big Picture Approach to Resource Management
Landscape ecology should be viewed as an intersection between the biological and social sciences, including ecology, geography, forestry, wildlife biology, landscape design, sociology, and economics. Geographic information systems, remote sensing, satellite imagery, and mathematical models that include spatial variables are all tools of the trade. Methodologies and technologies are less of a problem to applying landscape ecology than is the lack of recognition among scientists and resource managers of the importance of phenomena operating at large spatial-temporal scales. The emphasis on landscape ecology is at large temporal and spatial scales. Ecosystems are not closed, self-supporting systems, but rather parts of larger interacting systems within the landscape. Natural landscapes are characterized by high connectiveness among landscape elements, low contrast among landscape elements, a variety of ecological assemblages including early and late successional communities, and at least some large habitat patches along with many small patches.