- Landscape pattern analysis for assessing ecosystem condition - Semantic Scholar
- Landscape pattern analysis for assessing ecosystem condition 
- Landscape ecology
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As we begin the 21 st century, one of our greatest challenges is the preservation and remediation of ecosystem integrity. This requires monitoring and assessment over large geographic areas, repeatedly over time, and therefore cannot be practically fulfilled by field measurements alone. Remotely sensed imagery therefore plays a crucial role by its ability to monitor large spatially continuous areas. This technology increasingly provides extensive spatial-temporal data; however, the challenge is to extract meaningful environmental information from such extensive data.
Landscape Pattern Analysis for Assessing Ecosystem Condition presents a new method for assessing spatial pattern in raster land cover maps based on satellite imagery in a way that incorporates multiple pixel resolutions.
This is combined with more conventional single-resolution measurements of spatial pattern and simple non-spatial land cover proportions to assess predictability of both surface water quality and ecological integrity within watersheds of the state of Pennsylvania USA.
The efficiency of remote sensing for rapidly assessing large areas is realized through the ability to explain much of the variability of field observations that took several years and many people to obtain. Skip to main content Skip to table of contents. Advertisement Hide. Based on this cross-scale case study, we propose four ways that considerations of scale could be used to improve ecosystem service assessments. First, the scale of both social and ecological processes should be considered in designing ecosystem service assessments. We propose that in addition to using social-ecological units of analysis, ecosystem service analyses should begin with a quick exploration of the scales at which each ecosystem service of interest is produced, consumed, and managed see Methods for how to do this.
To connect the production of services to their use, scientists need a social-ecological lens to identify how the services are being consumed and managed. Choice of scale should take ecosystem service consumption and management into account, and not just the ecological dynamics of ecosystem services. The scale of ecosystem service consumption can often be identified by looking at ecosystem service management because management tends to occur where there is a demand for the services or a need to manage trade-offs among services.
Although such an approach will often not identify all ecosystem service consumption, it provides an effective start to such an assessment. Second, scale mismatches occur frequently and should be a focus of assessment. Mismatches can be identified informally by comparing what is already known about the scales of ecosystem service processes in a study area and supplemented where necessary with research and consultation.
Our typology of scale mismatches can be used to screen ecosystem services. Identifying scale mismatches can focus an assessment on issues or places for intervention in a system, for example areas where management incentives or feedbacks are lacking, or where conflicts are occurring among stakeholders at different scales. Addressing scale mismatches can be difficult, but in at least some cases, solutions to scale mismatches are simple, such as monitoring programs or better communication between producers and managers.
Third, ecosystem services scale differently. Our results suggest that ecosystem services whose production is more evenly distributed will behave more consistently across scales, and those with patchier distributions are more likely to require greater attention when choosing an assessment scale.
Landscape pattern analysis for assessing ecosystem condition - Semantic Scholar
Some ecosystem services are tightly associated with land cover, for example crop production and forest recreation. Land covers that are extensive tend to change evenly across scales because local configuration does not influence scaling Turner Cultural and provisioning ecosystem services that are not associated with extensive land covers, e.
For example, different forms of nature appreciation are possible in areas with unique ecological features but are restricted to areas that are accessible to the public. Mapping is the easiest and most effective way of identifying any ecosystem services with very heterogeneous distributions, but as more ecosystem services are assessed, it will become easier to know what type of ecosystem service distribution to expect in a particular place.
If ecosystem services are extremely clustered or sparsely distributed, analysis at some scales will not capture their true patterns. The most appropriate scale for mapping those ecosystem services on the landscape should therefore be decided based on the questions being asked and the type of detail and analysis required. Fourth, how patterns of multiple ecosystem services change across scales is related to the amount of social-ecological heterogeneity of the landscape. Ecosystem service bundles are clustered across space because similar sets of services are produced in similar landscapes or in particular areas on a landscape.
Landscape pattern analysis for assessing ecosystem condition 
Social institutions, geographic features, and economic dynamics interact to produce different types of social-ecological systems, where different types of ecosystem service bundles can be found. It is only within this social-ecological understanding of the diversity and heterogeneity within a landscape that bundle analysis results can be interpreted. Understanding these social-ecological interactions can help define useful scales of analysis by identifying scales that capture variation in these structures and feedback processes.
We present a novel analysis of how the scale of observation in ecosystem service assessment matters. We analyzed patterns of ecosystem services at multiple scales and show that although there is consistency in trade-offs and synergies across scales, changes in the scale of observation of services alters the bundles of ecosystem services that are identified in a landscape.
We identified novel potential scale mismatches on the landscape and suggest that these typologies could be used to guide and evaluate other ecosystem service assessments. As ecosystem services become more entrenched in policy responses to environmental degradation, it is clear that scientists need to provide more precise and relevant information on which to build appropriate policy responses. Understanding at what scale ecosystem services are produced, managed, consumed, and accessed is essential for designing ecosystem service monitoring and management strategies that are effective, accurate, and fair.
We thank the subject editor and the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments, and we are grateful to Toby Harper-Merrett for his constructive feedback and edits. Andersson, E. Barthel, and K. Measuring social-ecological dynamics behind the generation of ecosystem services. Ecological Applications 17 5 Beauchemin, S. Phosphorus status of intensively cropped soils of the St.
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