Effects of Landscape Pattern on Pollination, Pest Control, Water Quality, Flood Regulation, and Cultural Ecosystem Services: a Literature Review and Future Research Prospects

  • Jiangxiao QiuEmail author
Social Dimensions of Landscape Ecology (S Gagne , SECTION EDITOR)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Social Dimensions of Landscape Ecology


Purpose of Review

This review highlights recent progress on how landscape pattern (composition, configuration, landscape context, keystone landscape, scaling, and nonlinearity) affects pollination, pest control, water quality, flood control, and cultural ecosystem services (ES)—landscape esthetics and recreation.

Recent Findings

Landscape composition and configuration showed ES-specific effects. Recent studies confirmed that pollination increased in complex, heterogeneous landscapes with more surrounding natural/semi-natural habitats. Landscape pattern could also interact with local factors to affect pollination, with stronger effects at smaller spatial scales. For pest control, a comprehensive synthesis revealed inconsistent effects of non-crop habitat composition, perhaps due to diverse responses from different enemies and pests and complex tri-trophic interactions. Spatial configuration of land-covers, connectivity, and edge effects also mattered for pest control ES. Moreover, recent studies showed that configuration of land-covers could sometimes trump composition as the primary driver for water quality. Comparing across scales (e.g., riparian vs. watershed), landscape pattern effects on water quality tended to be more pronounced at small spatial scales. For flood control, studies showed that larger and less fragmented natural covers reduced peak runoffs, with a compositional threshold ~ 30–40%. Spatial location also mattered where imperviousness concentrated closer to outlet tended to increase peak runoffs. For cultural ES, landscape esthetics and recreation showed positive correlations with naturalness composition and landscape heterogeneity.


Five overarching themes emerge for future research to advance understanding of landscape pattern effects on ES: (1) using social-ecological measures of ES; (2) assessing ES supply, flow, and demand; (3) considering interactions among multiple drivers across scales; (4) addressing ES interactions; and (5) enhancing predictive capacity of landscape models.


Landscape structure Composition and configuration Landscape metrics Landscape heterogeneity Spatial pattern Natural capital 



Many thanks to Lenore Fahrig and Sara Gagne for the opportunity to contribute to this review. I also acknowledge all the insightful discussions and ideas from the Turner lab at the University of Wisconsin—Madison over the years that shape the direction of this paper. Jiangxiao Qiu also acknowledges the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch (FLA-FTL-005640) and McIntire-Stennis (1014703) projects, and National Science Foundation (ICER-1830036) for partial financial support of this work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has 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.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaDavieUSA

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