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