Distilling a complex subdiscipline down for introductory students
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When we teach courses on landscape ecology, particularly to undergraduates, the construction of a concise, one-semester syllabus is a daunting task. Do we emphasize the human focus, as was developed in Europe, an ecological focus, as it arose from North America over the last 30 years, or the critical intersection of the two schools that is so pervasive in the field today? Perhaps more importantly, at what level do we teach an ecological subdiscipline whose boundaries are blurred between those of population, community, and ecosystem ecology? As the field of landscape ecology continues to expand and evolve, instructors in the field will be no longer be safe with the assumption that landscape ecology should be taught to advanced undergraduates with previous course experience in ecology. Instead, as the field achieves a truly “transdisciplinary” approach (Naveh 2007), fundamental courses in landscape ecology will be taught in an integrative manner, dissolving rather than delineating the...
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