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Bridging the gap between ecology and spatial planning in landscape ecology

Year of publication2001
Author(s)Paul Opdam
Co-authorsRuud Foppen, Claire Vos
Number of pages12
JournalLandscape Ecology
Magazine No.Vol. 16 / Nr. 8
Publication typeJournal article
Landscapes are studied by pattern (the geographical approach) and by process (the ecological approach within landscape ecology). The future of landscape ecology depends on whether the two approaches can be integrated. We present an approach to bridge the gap between the many detailed process studies on species, and applied activities such as landscape evaluation and design, which require integrated knowledge. The approach consists of four components: 1) Empirical case studies of different scales, organisms and processes. 2) Modeling studies to extrapolate empirical studies across space and time. 3) Modeling studies to produce guidelines and standards for landscape conditions. 4) Methods and tools for integration to the landscape level, which can be built into multidisciplinary tools for design and evaluation. We conclude that in the landscape ecological literature, the steps 1 and 2 are well represented, whereas the steps 3 and 4 are mostly neglected. We challenge landscape ecologists to push landscape ecology to a higher level of maturation and to further develop its profile as a problem-oriented science.