Landscape Ecology

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 101–110 | Cite as

Relationships between landcover proportion and indices of landscape spatial pattern

  • Eric J. Gustafson
  • George R. Parker


Recent studies have related percolation theory and critical phenomena to the spatial pattern of landscapes. We generated simulated landscapes of forest and non-forest landcover to investigate the relationship between the proportion of forest (Pi) and indices of patch spatial pattern. One set of landscapes was generated by randomly assigning each pixel independently of other pixels, and a second set was generated by randomly assigning rectilinear clumps of pixels. Indices of spatial pattern were calculated and plotted against Pi. The random-clump landscapes were also compared with real agricultural landscapes.

The results support the use of percolation models as neutral models in landscape ecology, and the performance of the indices studied with these neutral models can be used to help interpret those indices calculated for real landscapes.


percolation theory indices spatial pattern fractal proximity index 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ambrose, J.P. and Bratton, S.P. 1990. Trends in landscape heterogeneity along the borders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Conserv. Biol. 4: 135–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowen, G.W. and Burgess, R.L. 1981. A quantitative analysis of forest island pattern in selected Ohio landscapes. ORNL Environ. Sciences Div., Publ. ORNL/TM-7759.Google Scholar
  3. Burrough, P.A. 1986. Principles of GIS for land resources assessment. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  4. Cale, W.G., Henebry, G.M. and Yeakley, J.A. 1989. Inferring process from pattern in natural communities. BioScience 39: 600–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carrere, V. 1990. Development of multiple source data processing for structural analysis at a regional scale. Photogramm. Eng. and Remote Sensing 56: 587–595.Google Scholar
  6. Forman, R.T.T. and Godron, M. 1986. Landscape Ecology. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Gardner, R.H., Milne, B.T. and O'Neill, R.V. 1987. Neutral models for the analysis of broad-scale landscape pattern. Landscape Ecol. 1: 19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Graham, R.L., Hunsaker, C.T., O'Neill, R.V. and Jackson, B.L. 1991. Ecological risk assessment at the regional scale. Ecological Applications 1: 196–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Harris, L.D. 1984. The fragmented forest: Island biogeography theory and the preservation of biotic diversity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  10. James, M. 1988. Pattern recognition. J. Wiley & Sons. New York.Google Scholar
  11. Krummel, J.R., Gardner, R.H., Sugihara, G., O'Neill, R.V. and Coleman, P.R. 1987. Landscape patterns in a disturbed environment. Oikos 48: 321–324.Google Scholar
  12. Mandelbrot, B.B. 1983. The fractal geometry of nature. W.H. Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  13. Milne, B.T. 1988. Measuring the fractal geometry of landscapes. Applied Mathem. and Computation 27: 67–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Milne, B.T. 1991. Lessons from applying fractal models to landscape patterns.In Quantitative Methods in Landscape Ecology. pp. 199–235. Edited by Turner, M.G. and Gardner, R.H. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  15. O'Neill, R.V., Krummel, J.R., Gardner, R.H., Sugihara, G., Jackson, B., DeAngelis, D.L., Milne, B.T., Turner, M.G., Zygmut, B., Christensen, S.W., Dale, V.H. and Graham, R.L. 1988a. Indices of landscape pattern. Landscape Ecol. 1: 153–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. O'Neill, R.V., Milne, B.T., Turner, M.G. and Gardner, R.H. 1988b. Resource utilization scales and landscape pattern. Landscape Ecol. 2: 63–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Orbach, R. 1986. Dynamics of fractal networks. Sci. 231: 814–819.Google Scholar
  18. Senft, R.L., Coughenour, M.B., Bailey, D.W., Rittenhouse, R.L., Sala, O.E. and Swift, D.M. 1987. Large herbivore foraging and ecological hierarchies. BioScience 37: 789–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Stauffer, D. 1985. Introduction to percolation theory. Taylor and Francis, London.Google Scholar
  20. Turner, M.G. 1989. Landscape ecology: the effect of pattern on process. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 20: 171–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Turner, M.G., Gardner, R.H., Dale, V.H. and O'Neill, R.V. 1989. Predicting the spread of disturbance across heterogeneous landscapes. Oikos 55: 121–129.Google Scholar
  22. Turner, M.G. 1990. Landscape changes in nine rural counties in Georgia. Photogramm. Eng. and Remote Sensing 56: 379–386.Google Scholar
  23. Urban, D.L., O'Neill, R.V. and Shugart, H.H., Jr. 1987. Landscape Ecology. BioScience 37: 119–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© SPB Academic Publishing bv 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric J. Gustafson
    • 1
  • George R. Parker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

Personalised recommendations