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Monday, April 9 • 10:00am - 10:15am
SYMPOSIA-03: History and Trends of Describing and Analyzing Landscape Patterns: Where Are We Now?

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AUTHORS: Amy E. Frazier*, Peter Kedron – Department of Geography, Oklahoma State University

ABSTRACT: Researchers have been developing metrics to quantify the characteristic patterns of land cover patches long before the discipline of landscape ecology officially coalesced as a field of study. Citing Aldo Leopold’s law of interspersion, George Patton introduced what is widely recognized to be one of the first landscape metrics to quantify edge in 1975. Since then, hundreds of metrics have been developed, providing researchers with tools to describe and analyze landscape patterns in a computationally efficient manner. As further evidence of the importance of these measures in landscape ecology, the 1988 paper by O’Neill and colleagues in which three new metrics were developed remains the top-cited article in the journal Landscape Ecology. However, despite the widespread use and importance of spatial pattern metrics, there remains a lack of agreement on the meaning of pattern and how best to measure landscape patterns from an ecological perspective. Despite the plethora of metrics available, new and ‘improved’ indices are introduced each year, and development shows few signs of abating. Complicating matters further, the ecological relevance of many landscape pattern indices has been questioned, and there is growing recognition that spatial pattern metrics may not provide any real causal understanding of underlying ecological mechanisms. This study reviews the history of landscape pattern analysis over the last three decades. We first provide a brief history of the trends and development of spatial pattern indices alongside a discussion of some of the limitations of these conventional landscape metrics for making pattern-process linkages. We then discuss some of the alternative approaches for linking spatial patterns with ecological processes to situate the current state of where we are now in terms of describing and analyzing landscape patterns and support further discussions that seek to understand where we are headed in the future.

Monday April 9, 2018 10:00am - 10:15am CDT
Spire Parlor