, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 355-365

Key issues and research priorities in landscape ecology: An idiosyncratic synthesis

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Abstract

Landscape ecology has made tremendous progress in recent decades, but as a rapidly developing discipline it is faced with new problems and challenges. To identify the key issues and research priorities in landscape ecology, a special session entitled “Top 10 List for Landscape Ecology in the 21st Century” was organized at the 16th Annual Symposium of the US Regional Association of International Association of Landscape Ecology, held at Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona, USA) during April 25–29, 2001. A group of leading landscape ecologists were invited to present their views. This paper is intended to be a synthesis, but not necessarily a consensus, of the special session. We have organized the diverse and wide-ranging perspectives into six general key issues and 10 priority research topics. The key issues are: (1) interdisciplinarity or transdisciplinarity, (2) integration between basic research and applications,(3) Conceptual and theoretical development, (4) education and training, (5)international scholarly communication and collaborations, and (6) outreach and communication with the public and decision makers. The top 10 research topics are: (1) ecological flows in landscape mosaics, (2) causes, processes, and consequences of land use and land cover change, (3) nonlinear dynamics and landscape complexity, (4) scaling, (5) methodological development, (6) relating landscape metrics to ecological processes, (7) integrating humans and their activities into landscape ecology, (8) optimization of landscape pattern, (9)landscape sustainability, and (10) data acquisition and accuracy assessment. We emphasize that, although this synthesis was based on the presentations at the“Top 10 List” session, it is not a document that has been agreed upon by each and every participant. Rather, we believe that it is reflective of the broad-scale vision of the collective as to where landscape ecology is now and where it may be going in future.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.