USDA Forest Service

NCRS - Landscape Ecology

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North Central Research Station
Forestry Sciences Laboratory

5985 Highway K
Rhinelander, WI 54501

(715) 362-7474

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Principles of Landscape Ecology for Managing Temperate Ecosystems

Landscape Ecology

What is Landscape Ecology?
Landscape ecology is a branch of ecological science that studies how the spatial arrangement of living organisms and ecosystems affects the way they interact with each other.  Landscape ecologists usually study these relationships across large areas (landscapes), which may vary in size from a few hundred acres to hundreds of thousands of acres.  Landscape ecologists are also interested in how the spatial arrangement changes over time.

Hot Topics

New Information from The Changing Midwest Assessment

deltaIMS Image

Interactive Maps: The Changing Midwest Internet Mapping Server (IMS)
Landcover, Natural Resources, and People
An Atlas of Change
Companion GIS and data CD

Hot off the Press

  • Gustafson, Eric J., R.B. Hammer, V.C. Radeloff, and R.S. Potts.  2005.  The relationship between environmental amenities and changing human settlement patterns between 1980 and 2000 in the Midwestern USA.  Landscape Ecology 20:  773-789.  view pub
  • He, Hong S., W. Li, B.R. Sturtevant, J. Yang, B.Z. Shang, E.J. Gustafson, D.J. Mladenoff.  2005.  LANDIS 4.0 users guide. LANDIS: a spatially explicit model of forest landscape disturbance, management, and succession.  Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-263. St. Paul, MN, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station. 93 p.  view pub

Nov. 2005 HARVEST ver 6.1 is now available.  Click here to download.


Focus of Current Research

  • Forested ecosystems managed for timber, recreation, and biodiversity.
  • How and where human population growth is changing landscapes around us.
  • How forest management and natural forest disturbances interact to determine the risk of fire across landscapes.
  • How landscape patterns affect the ability of animals to move across the landscape and colonize new habitat.
  • How urban sprawl and vacation home development affects the natural ecosystems that people value.
  • Endangered species such as Kirtland's Warbler and American Marten.

Development of Management Tools

  • Methods to assess the current state of natural resources, to provide decision support to land managers across the region.
  • Techniques to predict how forest management actions will affect the spatial arrangement of forests and wildlife habitat.
  • Methods to predict where on the landscape future development may occurs.

Our Research Results in Plain Language

USDA Forest Service - North Central Research Station

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