Landscape Ecology

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 55–61 | Cite as

A hierarchical neutral model for landscape analysis

  • R. V. O’Neill
  • R. H. Gardner
  • M. G. Turner


Empirical studies have revealed scaled structure on a variety of landscapes. Understanding processes that produce these structures requires neutral models with hierarchical structure. The present study presents a method for generating random maps possessing a variety of hierarchical structures. The properties of these scaled landscapes are analyzed and compared to patterns on totally random, unstructured landscapes. Hierar-chical structure permits percolation (i.e., continous habitat spanning the landscape) under a greater variety of conditions than found on totally random landscapes. Habitat clusters on structured maps tend to have smaller perimeters. The clusters tend to be less clumped on sparsely occupied landscapes and more clumped in densely occupied conditions. Hierarchical structure changes the expected spatial properties of the landscape, indicating a strong need for this new generation of neutral models.


Hierarchy theory percolation theory curdling 


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Copyright information

© SPB Academic Publishing bv 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. V. O’Neill
    • 1
  • R. H. Gardner
    • 1
  • M. G. Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Sciences DivisonOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak Ridge

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