Date: 29 May 2009

Fundamental Concepts in Ecology

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Abstract

Even though exurban development claims millions of acres of privately owned wildlands, most Americans have a limited grasp of the ecological impacts that development brings. This chapter bridges the knowledge gap in two ways. First, it explains the role of ecology in understanding wildland ecosystems. Issues covered include the scope and objectives of ecology, its history and background, and the potential for introducing a land ethic in exurban land development. Second, it describes basic terms, concepts, and ecological processes that appear in subsequent chapters. This provides readers with a richer understanding of the in-depth material provided in these chapters. The chapter also discusses natural science disciplines that play a role in the science of land development beyond the metropolitan fringe.