Current Landscape Ecology Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 43–56 | Cite as

An Analysis of Trends in Urban Landscape Ecology Research in Spatial Ecological Literature Between 1986 and 2016

  • Trymore MuderereEmail author
  • Amon Murwira
  • Paradzayi Tagwireyi
Effects of Landscape Structure on Conservation of Species and Biodiversity (J Watling, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Effects of Landscape Structure on Conservation of Species and Biodiversity


Growth of scientific literature on human-environment interactions in urban landscapes is occurring at an exponential rate, prompting a need to synthesize the literature to guide future research. Using a systematic review process, we quantified trends in urban landscape ecology studies published in spatial ecology literature from nine spatial ecology journals between 1986 and 2016. Specifically, we identified publication trends and assessed geographic and taxonomic focus, study approach, data types, temporal scale, spatial extent of study area, spatial resolution of remotely sensed data, and study site types. Results indicated that field-collected and socioeconomic data are the common data types, whereas remotely sensed data are infrequent. Although few studies employed remote sensing, those that did tended to use moderate to high spatial resolution imageries at spatiotemporal scales of < 10,000km2 and < 2 years. Birds, plants, and mammals were the most frequently studied taxa, whereas insects and cross-taxa studies were few. Intensely built-up areas and urban forests were the most frequently studied ecosystem types, followed by grassland, aquatic, and wetland ecosystems. Urban core areas were studied more than suburban, exurban, and rural-urban gradients. The majority of studies were from North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, while studies from Africa, South America, and across regions were limited. Our results suggest that urban landscape ecology research is receiving a limited but growing focus in the spatial ecology literature (< 9% of publication by volume). Therefore, urban landscape ecological studies which integrate coupled data across-taxa and varying spatiotemporal scales are imperative.


Literature citation frequency VOSviewer Geographic information systems Remote sensing Systematic review Urban ecosystems Urban landscape ecology Urban ecology Landscape ecology Spatial ecology 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trymore Muderere
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amon Murwira
    • 1
  • Paradzayi Tagwireyi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Centre for Geoinformation Science and Earth ObservationUniversity of ZimbabweHarareZimbabwe

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