What is landscape ecology?

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Landscape ecology studies the variations that landscapes undergo at a spatial level, usually on a large scale, and also over time. His field of study is the interactions between spatial patterns and different ecological processes, in which the impact of man is very often felt.

Yes, the action of the human being on the landscape is such that a multidisciplinary approach is required for its study. Therefore, when analyzing a certain habitat and defining a conservation strategy, landscape ecology uses biological and geographical knowledge and, on the other hand, also social sciences.

Landscape ecology is usually applied to large-scale landscapes, but there is nothing to prevent it from also being able to do so in a more concrete way, provided that this smaller scale has a meaning as a unit of analysis. The important thing, in each case, is to carry out a suitable spatial planning that favors environmental preservation. In Green Ecologist we tell you what is landscape ecology and we show all the details about it.

The transformation of the landscape

If we want to evaluate the environmental impact From an architectural point of view (public works and private works) and, in general, studying the traces of human activities, one of the ways to carry it out is through the ecology of the landscape.

The landscape study It focuses on the organization and reorganization of the territory considered as an ecosystem or sum of ecosystems that undergo variations. In this sense, landscape ecology It is a useful tool to give a sustainable use to the territory, in order to reduce environmental vulnerability.

The International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) defines it as "the study of spatial variation in landscapes at different scales. It includes the causes and consequences of biophysical and social landscape heterogeneity."

In addition, the IALE highlights its multidisciplinary nature and also the need to relate the natural sciences with the social ones. Among its central themes, the spatial structure of landscapes stands out, from the desert to the cities, as well as the relationship between it and its variations, with special emphasis on the disturbance caused by man.

In search of sustainability

The ultimate end of landscape ecology is to integrate man and nature in the best possible way, which means that they always have to look for opportunities for action, especially in view of the critical situation facing the planet and how this influences the very future of humanity. In particular, the work of landscape ecologists is to point out risks when making decisions, designing policies and recommending different options for managing natural resources and land use.

Making cities more livable, achieving a balance between asphalt and green or, for example, combining rural areas and public works with natural areas are some of the objectives of this discipline. Natural corridors, for example, allow animals to move through their habitat and the lack of these or their destruction by the existence of highways, wire fences, murose, etc., can have dramatic consequences for these specific species and, in general, for the balance of the environment.

In the same way, pollinating insects can be disturbed in their activity if there are large areas of intensive crops treated with pesticides and other chemicals. Preventing these and similar problems is complex, and cannot always be done for a variety of reasons. Even so, beyond its viability, the correct diagnosis corresponds to landscape ecologists.

The design of cities is another of the great challenges of landscape ecology. Richard T. T. Forman, professor at Harvard University considered the father of this discipline, "the ecology of the urban landscape has to include people and nature." His ideal world is in the antipodes of the chaotic and polluted city. For Forman, a sustainable city involves "shaping the earth and distributing people in areas around the big city, minimally affecting the environment."

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