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Landscape Ecology Chapter 5: Quantifying Landscape…

Landscape Ecology
Chapter 5: Quantifying Landscape Pattern
all quotes obtained from Landscape Ecology, Turner et al., 2001

presently, more can be quantified about landscape pattern than is understood about its ecological importance.

many analyses of landscape pattern are conducted on land use/land cover data that have been digitized and stored in GIS. aerial photography, digital remote sensing; censuses are applicable for older data (aerial photography only goes back to roughly the 1930’s, and its quality is correlated w/ age). also field mapped data for smaller landscapes. Anderson classification system: Level I = agricultural land, Level II = cropland/pasture, orchards/groves/vineyards/horticulture, confined feeding operations, other agricultural land; etc. breakdown between raster and vector based digital format. important to consider accuracy of source – age of data, extent of aerial coverage, map scale, political bounderies, resolution, positional accuracy, etc.

must be careful when examining and comparing data that it is relevant, and there must be a clear idea of what is being compared. danger of pseudoreplication, which occurs when comparison are made among samples that are not truly independent.

importance of proper classification scheme. one map may look entirely different if broadly categorized (non-forest, lodgepole pine, whitebark pine VS non-forest, early successional, mid successional, late successional, late successional/non-forest). depends on the question of course, and classification can start broadly with further breakdown and elaboration of detail.

scale must be clearly defined – the smaller the scale, the less detail; coarser grain size can obscure or misconstrue actual boundaries between cover types, and rare or small amounts of vegatation may not appear. ‘the grain size of the map should be two to five times smaller than the spatial features being analyzed, and map extent should be two to five times larger than the largest patches.

how to identify a patch? a patch is defined as ‘a nonlinear surface area differing in appearance from its surroundings.’ a variety of rules for defining a patch in a map, such as the 4-neighbor rule.

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