Landscape Dynamics, Disturbance, and Succession

Authored by: Hong S. He

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:


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A landscape is a place where natural and human forces interact. Both forces lead to landscape change over large spatial extents and long temporal spans. These forces are usually referred as landscape disturbances. This entry discusses both natural and anthropogenic disturbances and their roles in affecting landscape dynamics. The disturbances along with other spatial processes, such as seed dispersal and exotic species invasion, are termed landscape processes. Landscape processes are spatially continuous processes directly related to landscape position, spatial heterogeneity, and patch geometrics and adjacencies. They operate across a range of spatial extents (103–106 ha) and temporal spans (101–103 year) and are often the main forces shaping the landscapes and interact with landscape succession. Because the interaction of spatial and temporal factors across the landscape can be so complicated that it is beyond human comprehension, computer simulation modeling becomes a useful tool for understanding future trajectories of landscape dynamics. The lack of management experience at the landscape scales and the limited feasibility of conducting landscape-scale experiments have resulted in increasing the use of scenario modeling to analyze the effects of different management actions on focal forests and wildlife species.

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