Urban Patterns and Ecosystem Function

Urbanizing regions present challenges to ecosystem ecology, but the field may gain important insights from studying these areas. Earth's ecosystems are increasingly influenced by urbanization, and their functioning is dependent on the landscape patterns emerging in urbanizing regions. While ecosystem ecology still lacks a theory of ecosystem function that explicitly takes spatial phenomena into account, increasing empirical evidence indicates that the linkages between ecosystem structure and function depend on landscape heterogeneity (Lovett et al. 2005). Landscape heterogeneity is a spatial phenomenon caused by variation in environmental conditions. In turn, it affects the interactions among patches, biodiversity, and ecosystem processes such as energy flows, nutrient cycling, and primary production. Landscape heterogeneity manifests as discrete patterns and gradients across multiple spatial scales, and it matters to populations, communities, and ecosystems.


Land Cover Ecosystem Function Urban Landscape Impervious Surface Ecological Footprint 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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