Annals of Forest Science

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 301–301

Landscape metrics for characterization of forest landscapes in a sustainable management framework: Potential application and prevention of misuse

  • Emilio R. Diaz-Varela
  • Manuel F. Marey-Pérez
  • Antonio Rigueiro-Rodriguez
  • Pedro Álvarez-Álvarez
Original Article


  • • The use of landscape indices in the analysis of forest landscapes offers great potential for integration of spatial pattern information in management processes, but requires understanding of the limitations and correct interpretation of results. In this sense, awareness of scale effects on landscape indices is essential, especially when the data available is restricted to low-resolution maps.

  • • In this study, developed within the framework of the FORSEE project, the objective was to define accurately the potential usefulness of applying landscape indices to low-resolution maps commonly used in forestry studies. Landscape indices were applied to two maps differing in spatial resolution, and subsets were defined for three spatial extensions. Correlation analysis and comparison of the results were carried out to enable identification of the most suitable indices for use with low resolution data.

  • • The analysis enabled identification of the least scale-dependent indices, which are thus more useful for extrapolating results from low-resolution data. In general terms, diversity and edge indices provided the best results.

  • • We conclude that some (but not all) of the landscape indices can be used to analyse low-resolution maps with acceptable results. Additional advice is made to prevent misuse of the application of landscape indices.


landscape indices scale pattern analysis sustainable forest management FORSEE project 

Indices quantitatifs de paysage pour une caractérisation des paysages forestiers dans le cadre d’une gestion durable : application potentielle et prévention de mauvaise utilisation


  • • L’utilisation d’indices de paysage dans l’analyse des paysages forestiers offre un grand potentiel pour l’intégration d’informations de modèles spatiaux dans les processus de gestion, mais exige la compréhension des limitations et une interprétation correcte de résultats. Dans ce sens, la conscience des effets d’échelle sur les indices de paysage est essentielle, particulièrement quand les données disponibles sont limitées aux cartes de basse résolution.

  • • Dans cette étude, développée dans le cadre du projet FORSEE, l’objectif était de définir précisément l’utilité potentielle d’application des indices de paysage aux cartes de basse résolution, généralement utilisées dans les études de sylviculture. Les indices de paysage ont été appliqués à deux cartes différant par la résolution spatiale et les sous-ensembles ont été définis pour trois extensions spatiales. Une analyse de corrélation et la comparaison des résultats ont été effectuées pour permettre l’identification des indices les plus appropriés pour une utilisation avec des données de basse résolution.

  • • L’analyse a permis l’identification des indices les moins dépendants de l’échelle, qui sont ainsi plus utiles pour extrapoler les résultats de données de basse résolution. En termes généraux, la diversité et des indices de bord ont fourni les meilleurs résultats.

  • • Nous concluons que certains (mais pas tous) indices de paysage peuvent être utilisés pour analyser les cartes de basse résolution avec des résultats acceptables. Un conseil supplémentaire est fait pour prévenir une mauvaise utilisation des indices de paysage.


indices de paysage échelle modèle d’analyse gestion durable des forêts projet FORSEE 


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Copyright information

© Springer S+B Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilio R. Diaz-Varela
    • 1
  • Manuel F. Marey-Pérez
    • 1
  • Antonio Rigueiro-Rodriguez
    • 2
  • Pedro Álvarez-Álvarez
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agroforestry EngineeringUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Vegetal ProductionUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSpain

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