Much of the world’s inhabitable lands are a mosaic of agricultural and semi-natural landscapes, dotted with human settlements from small towns to mega-cities, and crossed by highways, power lines, and other infrastructure. How can we maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services in such working landscapes? Is more intensive use of some lands, while conserving elsewhere, more optimal than less-intensive use spread out over a larger area? How can we balance resource use and economic returns with other priorities in “cultural landscapes” used by humans for centuries or millennia? These are some of the big questions that landscape ecologists and land managers try to answer.
In this course we will examine landscapes as complex socio-ecological systems. You will learn principles of landscape ecology as a scientific basis for conservation and management at the landscape scale. You will read and discuss primary literature from land use planning, conservation, and landscape ecology journals. You will also use ArcGIS* to examine spatial patterns of landscapes in the Pacific Northwest. As a final project you will use existing spatial datasets to answer a researchable question of your choosing.
*Course or work experience with ArcGIS will be useful, but is not a prerequisite.
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