landscape ecology and gis resm 493q wed dec 9 l.
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Landscape Ecology and GIS RESM 493q Wed Dec 9. Overview. Landscapes and landscape ecology Regional assessments and GIS use Indicators Examples (Bird Community Index) and Landform analysis or ecological land units. What is a landscape?.

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Landscape Ecology and GIS RESM 493q Wed Dec 9

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Presentation Transcript
  • Landscapes and landscape ecology
  • Regional assessments and GIS use
  • Indicators
  • Examples
    • (Bird Community Index) and
    • Landform analysis or ecological land units
what is a landscape
What is a landscape?
  • To most people, the term landscape suggests either a scenic vista or a backyard improvement project.
  • Many ways to define a landscape depending on the phenomenon under consideration
  • Not easily defined by its size
definition of a landscape
Definition of a landscape
  • An area of land (at any scale) containing an interesting pattern that affects and is affected by an ecological process of interest.
  • To ecologists and other environmental scientists, a landscape is a conceptual unit for the study of spatial patterns in the physical environment and the influence of these patterns on important environmental resources.
why is a landscape perspective useful
Why is a landscape perspective useful?
  • Ecology strives to understand the interactions of organisms and their environment
  • The environment is inherently spatial
what is landscape ecology
What is Landscape Ecology?
  • Study of landscapes
  • Composition, structure, function
  • Relationship to important species

Keystone species: One that is crucial to supporting an entire food web and whose extinction would lead to the extinction of other species. A keystone species' impact on an ecosystem is disproportionately larger than its abundance suggests.

Umbrella species: Typically a large species requiring a lot of habitat. Protecting an umbrella species' habitat protects other species as well.

(National Wildlife Federation, 2005)

regional assessment
Regional assessment
  • EPA Landscape Atlas:
  • Assessing indicators of regional ecosystem health


measuring spatial patterns as an indicator of stream conditions
Measuring spatial patterns as an indicator of stream conditions
  • Spatial patterns of land cover in relation to streams for a county in the mid–Atlantic region. Stream segments are colored green, yellow, or red, depending on whether the segments are adjacent to forest, agriculture, or urban land cover.
common landscape indicators
Common landscape indicators
  • Population change and density
  • Human use index
  • Road density
  • Forest and agriculture along streams
  • Roads along streams
  • Impoundment density
  • Crop land on steep slopes
  • Forest land cover percentage
  • Forest fragmentation
  • Forest edge habitat
  • Forest interior habitat

And now a local or large map scale example….

bird community index
Bird community index
  • Bird Community Index:
  • Based on extensive Mid-Atlantic environmental monitoring work (EPA, Penn State)
  • Assumes ecological condition correlates with land cover
  • High proportion of birds with specialized requirements indicates healthy natural forest habitat
  • BCI Score:
  • Based on amount of forested land cover within 200 acre window
  • Accounts for edge effects from disturbed land cover
  • Indicates overall ecological condition as poor, average, or good/excellent
bird community index16
Bird community index

Relationship to keystone or umbrella species

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  • Jones, B.K, K.H. Ritters, J. D. Wickham, R.D. Tankersley, R.V. ONeill, D.J. Chaloud, E. R. Smith, and A.C. Neale. 1997 An Ecological Assessment of United States Mid-Atlantic Region: A Landscape Atlas.