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Landscape Biodiversity

  • By: Harini Nagendra
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Biodiversity, the variety of biological life, is hierarchically organized at different scales, from the molecular and genetic levels to populations, ecosystems, and landscapes. Research on landscape biodiversity studies how the interaction between the distribution of biotic factors and human land use shapes the distribution of biodiversity at landscape scales. Landscape ecology emphasizes the connection between spatial pattern and ecological process. Thus, landscapes are viewed as heterogeneous compositions of many smaller units, typically ecosystems. The type, quality, relative proportion, and spatial distribution of these ecosystems determine the flows of energy, material, and species through the landscape and thus affect the spatial distribution of biodiversity. Abiotic factors such as soils, topography, and climate further interact with and constrain the biological interactions between organisms, resulting in complex spatial ...

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