Skip to Main Content
Use and misuse of landscape indicesAuthor(s): Harbin Li; Jianguo Wu
Source: Landscape Ecology 19: 389-399.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (344 KB)
DescriptionLandscape ecology has generated much excitement in the past two decades. One reason was that it brought spatial analysis and modeling to the forefront of ecological research. However, high expectations for landscape analysis to improve our understanding and prediction of ecological processes have largely been unfulfilled. We identified three kinds of critical issues: conceptual flaws in landscape pattern analysis, inherent limitations of landscape indices, and improper use of pattern indices. For example, many landscape analyses treat quantitative description of spatial pattern as an end itself and fail to explore relationships between pattern and process. Landscape indices and map data are sometimes used without testing their ecological relevance, which may not only confound interpretation of results, but also lead to meaningless results. In addition, correlation analysis with indices is impeded by the lack of data because of difficulties in large-scale experimentation and by complicated behavior of indices because of their varying responses to changes in scale and spatial pattern. These problems represent significant challenges to landscape pattern analysis, especially in terms of relating pattern to process. In this perspective paper, we examine the underlying problems of these challenges and offer some solutions.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationLi, Harbin; Wu, Jianguo. 2004. Use and misuse of landscape indices. Landscape Ecology 19: 389-399.
KeywordsConceptual flaws, GIS and map data, Landscape pattern analysis, Pattern and process, Scale
- Landscape ecology: what is the state of science?
- Quantifying Landscape Spatial Pattern: What Is the State of the Art?
- Scale dependent inference in landscape genetics
XML: View XML