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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This paper grew out of special sessions on Poverty and Landscape Ecology at the US IALE meetings held in Madison, Wisconsin on April 25, 2008 and Snowbird, Utah on April 17, 2009. The co-authors represent a mixture of session presenters and attendees from the audience of the first session and several presenters of the second session.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Bryan C. Pijanowski.

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Pijanowski, B.C., Iverson, L.R., Drew, C.A. et al. Addressing the interplay of poverty and the ecology of landscapes: a Grand Challenge Topic for landscape ecologists?. Landscape Ecol 25, 5–16 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-009-9415-z

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Keywords

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