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The interactions between spatial context and ecosystem composition and structure can have a significant influence on the management of our natural environment. Spatial and temporal patterning of ecosystems can influence ecosystem functioning which in turn can affect resource availability for flora and fauna, dynamics of plant communities, and lead to the alteration of disturbance regimes. Humans play a critical role in shaping the spatial context on ecosystems within landscapes, both creating and affecting these relationships. This subject will cover the principles of landscape ecology with a focus on understanding how spatial heterogeneity, spatial extent, agents of change (i.e. fire, climate) and the role of humans (i.e. forest management, urbanisation) influence ecosystem patterns and in turn ecological processes (i.e. plant migration, meta-population dynamics, provisioning of ecosystem services). Case studies will be drawn from international and domestic examples from urban, agricultural, and forested landscapes.
This subject will involve lectures, pracs and a 3 day field trip.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Understand the key principles of landscape ecology including spatial heterogeneity, spatial extent, landscape-level ecological processes and role of humans in shaping landscape patterns and processes.
- Understand and recognise pattern-process relationships in a wide diversity of landscape types and geographical locations.
- Explain how changes in spatial patterns (i.e. fragmentation, connectivity, heterogeneity) impact on the conservation of flora and fauna.
- Understand how human decisions and actions modify landscape patterns and processes and then predict and discuss the ecological implications for this locally, regionally and globally.
- Use geographic information systems (GIS) and mechanistic models to investigate and identify spatial patterns and ecological processes at variety of spatial extents.
- Project development and management
- Critical thinking (problem definition, analysis and synthesis)
- Report Writing
- Communication of Project Outcomes
- Use GIS to study and understand landscape patterns and processes
Last updated: 6 December 2019