Landscape Ecology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 137–153

Effects of landscape patterns on biotic communities

  • Joseph N. Miller
  • Robert P. Brooks
  • Mary Jo Croonquist


A comparative evaluation was performed using descriptors oflandscape and land cover patterns as to how they relate tovarying levels of anthropogenic disturbance and the structure ofbiotic communities. A spatial analysis program (a modifiedversion of SPAN) was used to compute measures of land coverdiversity, dominance, contagion, scaled dominance and contagion,fractal dimension of land cover patches, mean forest-wetlandpatch size, amount of forest edge, clustering of selected foresttypes, and the largest cover patches within two 100-km2watersheds of the Ridge and Valley province of centralPennsylvania. Landscape pattern analysis was conducted on asubwatershed basis, emphasizing different levels ofresidential-agricultural versus forest land cover, the majordifference between the two watersheds. Bird and vascular plantguilds were chosen to represent the overall biotic community. Thegeneral descriptors of diversity, contagion, mean forest-wetlandpatch size, proportion of forest cover, and the amount of forestedge were most effective in reflecting the disturbance levelswithin the watersheds and changes in guild composition for bothbirds and plants.

landscape disturbance diversity contagion anthropogenic effects 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph N. Miller
    • 1
  • Robert P. Brooks
    • 1
  • Mary Jo Croonquist
    • 1
  1. 1.Intercollege Graduate Program in Ecology and School of Forest Resources, Forest Resources LaboratoryPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkU.S.A

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