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Landscape ecology is a subdiscipline of ecology and geography that is interested in the spatial arrangement of elements in the landscape (such as fields, hedgerows, woodlots, rivers or towns) and how their distribution affects the distribution and flow of energy and individuals in the environment (which, in turn, may influence the distribution of the elements themselves). Landscape ecology typically deals with problems in an applied and holistic context. The term landscape ecology was coined by Carl Troll , a German geographer in 1939 (Troll 1939). He developed this terminology and many early concepts of landscape ecology as part of his early work applying aerial photograph interpretation to studies of interactions between environment and vegetation.
One central landscape ecology theory originated from MacArthur & Wilson's The Theory of Island Biogeography . This work considered the assembly of flora and fauna on islands as the result of colonization from a mainland stock and stochastic extinction. The concepts of island biogeography were generalized from physical islands to abstract patches of habitat by Levins' metapopulation model. This generalization spurred the growth of landscape ecology by providing conservation biologists a new tool to assess how habitat fragmentation affects population viability. Recent growth of landscape ecology owes much to the development of geographic information systems (GIS) technology and the availability of large-extent habitat data (e.g. remotely sensed satellite images or aerial photography).
- MacArthur, Robert H. and Wilson, Edward O. The Theory of Island Biogeography Princeton University Press. 2001 (reprint) ISBN: 0-691-08836-5
- Troll, C. 1939. Luftbildplan und ökologische Bodenforschung (Aerial photography and ecological studies of the earth). Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde, Berlin: 241-298.
- International Association for Landscape Ecology
- Landscape Ecology - A major scientific journal on Landscape Ecology
- U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology
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