Geovisualizing, representing, analyzing, modeling, and simulating

Complex Human-Environment Systems (CHES)

for improved envisioning, understanding, and planning



Landscape Ecology Theory (LE Theory)


Landscape ecology is an increasingly recognized discipline, which addresses interactions between landscape pattern and ecological processes with particular attention to the causes and consequences of landscape heterogeneity over varying, usually large, scales. As a discipline cutting across traditional ecology, geography, and social sciences, landscape ecology offers unique insights into causes and measures of landscape patterns, ecosystem processes, disturbance, landscape connectivity, neutral models, restoration of degraded ecosystems, and human interaction with landscape processes and patterns. In particular, the Fragstats software and many landscape metrics offer big help towards better measuring and understanding landscape processes.

When dealing with CHES research questions, we are interested in multiple concepts, measures, and theoretical perspectives from landscape ecology. For instance, how do landscape patterns (e.g., connectivity) affect ecological processes, human decisions, and human-landscape interaction? How does the space-time principle help our understanding of the nature and scale of various disturbances (e.g., from landslide to hurricane) and landscape processes (e.g., from treefall to wildfire to species migration)? These are also topics of a landscape ecology course we offer. An NSF sponsored project illustrates how landscape ecology concepts and methods help undestand CHES patterns, processes, and mutual relatioships.

Lewison, R., L. An, and X. Chen (in press). Reframing the payments for ecosystem services framework in a coupled human and natural systems context: Strengthening the integration between ecological and human dimensions. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability.

Levin, S.A. (1992). The problem of pattern and scale in ecology. Ecology 73:1943-1967.

Turner, M.G. (2005). Landscape ecology: What is the state of the science? Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 36:319-344.