Ecological Research

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 107–110 | Cite as

The eco-field: A new paradigm for landscape ecology

  • Almo FARINAEmail author
  • Andrea BELGRANO
Part III. Legacy and action of landscape ecology in nature-human system

In the spirit of the theory of biocomplexity and of the non-linear emergent characters of ecological systems, the eco-field is a new paradigm that integrates the vision of the landscape as a neutral matrix (like a habitat) in which organisms are living, and contemporarily as a product of the human mind. Eco-field is defined a ‘cognitive field’ created by the interference between functional traits and the ‘real world’. Species-specific environmental suitability is the result of the quality of the different eco-fields and the landscape becomes a cognitive entity. The eco-field paradigm can be extended to the emergent properties of the systems. The eco-field of emergences is the geographic space in which the emergent properties appear. The eco-field of organisms and the eco-field of emergences, like results of aggregated entities, have in common the multidimensionality of landscapes, refusing the vision of landscape like a neutral geographic matrix for organisms and processes.

Key words

biocomplexity eco-field paradigm hierarchical level of complexity landscape ecology theory 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bradbury R. H., Green D. G. & Snoad N. (2000) Are ecosystems complex systems? In: Complex Systems (eds T. R. Bossomaier & D. G. Green) pp. 339–365. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Capra F. (1996) The Web of Life. Doubleday-Anchor Book, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Cilliers P. (1998) Complexity & Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  4. Farina A. (1993) Editorial comment: From global to regional landscape ecology. Landscape Ecology 8: 153–154.Google Scholar
  5. Farina A. (2000) Landscape Ecology in Action. Kluwer Academic Publisher, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  6. Farina A., Belgrano A. & Villa A. E. P. (in prep.) Eco-Field: an Integrated Semiotic Vision of the Landscape.Google Scholar
  7. Graham M. H. & Dayton P. K. (2002) On the evolution of ecological ideas: Paradigms and scientific progress. Ecology 83: 1481–1489.Google Scholar
  8. Grinnell J. (1917) The niche-relationships of the California thrasher. Auk 34: 427–433.Google Scholar
  9. Hoffmeyer J. (1997) Biosemiotics: Toward a new synthesis in Biology. European Journal for Semiotic Studies 9: 355–376.Google Scholar
  10. Hutchinson G. E. (1957) Concluding remarks. Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology 22: 415–427.Google Scholar
  11. Jorgensen S. E., Mejer H. & Nielsen S. N. (1998) Ecosystem as self-organizing critical systems. Ecological Modelling 111: 261–268.Google Scholar
  12. Kauffman S. (1993) The Origins of Order. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Kolasa J. & Pickett S. T. A. (1991) Ecological Heterogeneity. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Kull K. (1998a) Semiotic ecology: different natures in the semiosphere. Sign Systems Studies 26: 344–371.Google Scholar
  15. Kull K. (1998b) On semiosis, Umwelt, and semiosphere. Semiotica 120: 299–310.Google Scholar
  16. Manson S. M. (2001) Simplifying complexity: a review of complexity theory. Geoforum 32: l405–414.Google Scholar
  17. Maturana H. R. & Varela J. F. (1980) Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living. Rediel Publishing Co, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  18. May R. (1974) Biological populations with non-overlapping populations: stable points, stable cycles, and chaos. Science 186: 645–647.Google Scholar
  19. May R. (1976) Simple mathematical models with very complicated dynamics. Nature 261: 459–467.Google Scholar
  20. May R. (1986) When two and two does not make four: non-linear phenomena in ecology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 228: 241.Google Scholar
  21. Merry U. (1995) Coping with Uncertainty: Insights from the New Sciences of Chaos, Self-Organization, and Complexity. Praeger, Connecticut.Google Scholar
  22. Mitchell M. & Powell R. A. (2002) Linking fitness landscapes with the behavior and distribution of animals. In: Landscape Ecology and Resource. Linking Theory with Practice (eds J. A. Bissonette & I. Storch) pp. 93–124. Island Press, Washington.Google Scholar
  23. Muller F. (1997) State-of-the-art in ecosystem theory. Ecological Modelling 100: 135–161.Google Scholar
  24. Naveh Z. (2003) What is holistic landscape ecology? A conceptual introduction. Landscape and Urban Planning 50: 7–26.Google Scholar
  25. Noth W. (1998) Ecosemiotics. Sign Systems Studies 26: 332–343.Google Scholar
  26. Phillips J. D. (1999) Divergence, convergence, and self-organization in landscapes. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 89: 466–488.Google Scholar
  27. Prigogine I. & Stengers I. (1984) Order Out of Chaos. Bantam, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Pulliam R. (1988) Sources-sinks, and population regulation. American Naturalist 132: 652–661.Google Scholar
  29. Pulliam R. (1996) Sources and sinks: Empirical evidence and population consequences. In: Population Dynamics in Ecological Space and Time (eds O. E. Rhodes, R. K. Chesser & M. H. Smith) pp. 45–69. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  30. Thompson J. N., Reichman O. J., Morin P. J., Polis G. A., Power M. E., Sterner R. W., Couch C. A., Gough L., Holt R., Hooper D. U., Keesing F., Lovell C. R., Milne B. T., Moles M. C., Roberts D. W. & Strauss S. Y. (2001) Frontiers of ecology. Bioscience 51: 15–24.Google Scholar
  31. von Bertalanffy L. (1969) General System Theory. Braziller, New York.Google Scholar
  32. von Uexkull J. (1940) Bedeutungslehre. Leipzig, Barth.Google Scholar
  33. Wu J. & Hobbs R. (2002) Key issues and research topics in landscape ecology: An idiosyncratic synthesis. Landscape Ecology 17: 355–365.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Faculty of Environmental SciencesUrbino UniversityItaly
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

Personalised recommendations