Landscape Ecology

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 5–16 | Cite as

Addressing the interplay of poverty and the ecology of landscapes: a Grand Challenge Topic for landscape ecologists?

  • Bryan C. PijanowskiEmail author
  • Louis R. Iverson
  • C. Ashton Drew
  • Henry N. N. Bulley
  • Jeanine M. Rhemtulla
  • Michael C. Wimberly
  • Annett Bartsch
  • Jian Peng


We argue for the landscape ecology community to adopt the study of poverty and the ecology of landscapes as a Grand Challenge Topic. We present five areas of possible research foci that we believe that landscape ecologists can join with other social and environmental scientists to increase scientific understanding of this pressing issue: (1) scale and poverty; (2) landscape structure and human well-being; (3) social and ecological processes linked to spatial patterns in landscapes; (4) conservation and poverty, and (5) applying the landscape ecologist’s toolkit. A brief set of recommendations for landscape ecologists is also presented. These include the need to utilize broad frameworks that integrate social and ecological variables, build capacity to do this kind of work through the development of strong collaborations of researchers in developed and developing countries, create databases in international locations where extreme poverty exists, and create a new generation of researchers capable of addressing this pressing social and environmental issue.


Poverty Millennium Development Goals Grand Challenge Topic Scale Biological conservation Human well-being 



We wish to thank the US IALE 2007 and 2008 conference committees for allowing us to hold special sessions on Poverty and Landscape Ecology. Several people provided comments on earlier drafts of the document including Amelie Davis, Camille Washington-Ottombre, and Avantika Regmi, as well as several anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© US government 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan C. Pijanowski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Louis R. Iverson
    • 2
  • C. Ashton Drew
    • 3
  • Henry N. N. Bulley
    • 4
  • Jeanine M. Rhemtulla
    • 5
  • Michael C. Wimberly
    • 6
  • Annett Bartsch
    • 7
  • Jian Peng
    • 8
  1. 1.Human-Environment Modeling and Analysis (HEMA) Laboratory, Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.United States Department of Agriculture, Forest ServiceNorthern Research StationDelawareUSA
  3. 3.Biodiversity and Spatial Information Center (BaSIC), Department of BiologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  4. 4.Department of International Development, Community and Environment/Graduate School of GeographyClark UniversityWorcesterUSA
  5. 5.Department of GeographyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  6. 6.Geographic Information Science Center of ExcellenceSouth Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA
  7. 7.Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote SensingVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria
  8. 8.College of Urban and Environmental SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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