Edges: where landscape elements meet

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter

Abstract

An edge can be defined as the place where landscape elements meet. Structural change in landscape elements may be accompanied by changes in ecosystem function, commonly referred to as edge effects. Edges have been a prominent topic of exploration in landscape ecology particularly in the last two to three decades as research focussed on the implications of landscape fragmentation. Species responses to edges vary and may be taxa and context specific, although some researchers have been successful in predicting spatial patterns in edge response based on species habitat relationships and resource abundance. Despite some success in this area, great uncertainty still exists regarding the circumstances under which particular edge effects (which ultimately drive the patterns in distribution) manifest themselves. More work needs to be done comparing the same variables across different edge types in the same landscape with greater emphasis on temporal, as opposed to spatial, changes. These factors will influence the strength (although possibly not the direction) of edge responses and the penetration distance of associated edge effects. Owing to the complexity of ecological processes occurring across landscapes it is very difficult to identify widely applicable land management principles. When edges favour undesirable species, land managers may reduce the amount of edge through strategic revegetation or alter edge structure or permeability through land-use change. However, such management should not reduce the capability of desirable species to access key resources.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging and designing landscapes for conservation
Subtitle of host publicationmoving from perspectives to principles
Place of PublicationOxford, United Kingdom
PublisherBlackwell
Pages179-194
Number of pages16
Edition1
ISBN (Print)9781405159142
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

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