Landscape Ecology

, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 1107–1117 | Cite as

Impact of scale on morphological spatial pattern of forest

  • Katarzyna OstapowiczEmail author
  • Peter Vogt
  • Kurt H. Riitters
  • Jacek Kozak
  • Christine Estreguil
Research Article


Assessing and monitoring landscape pattern structure from multi-scale land-cover maps can utilize morphological spatial pattern analysis (MSPA), only if various influences of scale are known and taken into account. This paper lays part of the foundation for applying MSPA analysis in landscape monitoring by quantifying scale effects on six classes of spatial patterns called: core, edge, perforation, branch, connector and islet. Four forest maps were selected with different forest composition and configuration. The sensitivity of MSPA to scale was studied by comparing frequencies of pattern classes in total forest area for various combinations of pixel size (P) and size parameter (S). It was found that the quantification of forest pattern with MSPA is sensitive to scale. Differences in initial composition and configuration influence the amount but not the general tendencies of the variations of morphological spatial pattern (MSP) class proportions with scale. Increase of P led to data generalization resulting in either a removal of the small size features or their potential transformation into other non-core MSP classes, while an increase of S decreases the MSP core area and this process may transform small core areas into the MSP class islet. We established that the behavior of the MSPA classes with changing scale can be categorized as consistent and robust scaling relations in the forms of linear, power, or logarithmic functions over a range of scales.


Pattern analysis Mathematical morphology Scale 



We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their important comments and suggestions. The research described in this article was performed as a part of the Collaboration Agreement (No. 22832-2005-06 S0SC ISP) between the European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability and the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katarzyna Ostapowicz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Peter Vogt
    • 2
  • Kurt H. Riitters
    • 3
  • Jacek Kozak
    • 1
  • Christine Estreguil
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Geography and Spatial ManagementJagiellonian UniversityKrakowPoland
  2. 2.Institute for Environment and SustainabilityEuropean Commission – DG Joint Research CentreIspraItaly
  3. 3.Southern Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceResearch Triangle ParkUSA

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