A Methodological Framework to Quantify Anthropogenic Effects on Landscape Patterns

  • Jan Bogaert
  • Yao Sabas S. Barima
  • Jian Ji
  • Hong Jiang
  • Issouf Bamba
  • Léon Iyongo Waya Mongo
  • Adi Mama
  • Edgar Nyssen
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
  • Nico Koedam
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


From an ecological landscape perspective, cultural landscapes can be considered as “anthropized” landscapes, in which patterns and processes are altered by human intervention. The importance of the study of spatial patterns in landscapes is justified by the pattern/process paradigm. The emergent properties of patterns reflect two components: landscape composition, which describes the number of patch types as well as their abundance, and landscape configuration, which refers to the spatial arrangement of the patch types. In this chapter, methods and strategies to analyze spatial pattern and landscape dynamics are discussed, and emphasis is put on the detection and quantification of anthropogenic effects on landscapes. Land mosaics showing anthropogenic effects are characterized by fragmented natural land cover, high frequencies of edge habitat, simple patch geometry, and dominant proportions of anthropogenic patch types. Landscape transformations associated with “anthropization” lead to a disintegration of natural patch types and to a reinforcement of anthropogenic ones. Four techniques to measure anthropogenic effects on pattern are discussed (1) the quantification of the fragmentation of natural habitats and its interpretation in terms of diversity, heterogeneity and entropy, (2) the quantification of edge effects in order to measure the ecological impact of human activity, (3) the determination of patch fractal dimensions to detect pattern simplification, and (4) the determination of the landscape transformation processes responsible for pattern dynamics. At the end of the chapter, a short list of analysis methods and strategies is proposed for detecting and measuring landscape “anthropization.”


Land Cover Patch Size Land Cover Change Land Cover Type Landscape Pattern 



The authors acknowledge the government of Ivory Coast for the fellowships of I. Bamba and Y.S.S. Barima. BTC/CTB is acknowledged for the fellowship of L. Iyongo Waya Mongo. This publication was made possible by a research grant from the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders “Dynamiek in diversiteit, functionaliteit en stabiliteit van mangroven, benaderd vanuit een retrospectieve en actuele teledetectie-aanpak m.b.v. nieuwe patroonherkenningstechnieken.”


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Bogaert
    • 1
  • Yao Sabas S. Barima
    • 1
  • Jian Ji
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hong Jiang
    • 2
  • Issouf Bamba
    • 1
  • Léon Iyongo Waya Mongo
    • 1
  • Adi Mama
    • 1
  • Edgar Nyssen
    • 4
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
    • 5
    • 6
  • Nico Koedam
    • 6
  1. 1.Service d’Ecologie du Paysage et Systèmes de Production VégétaleUniversité Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium
  2. 2.Nanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Chengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina
  4. 4.Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Vakgroep Elektronica en InformaticaBrusselBelgium
  5. 5.Laboratoire de Complexité et Dynamique des Systèmes TropicauxUniversité Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium
  6. 6.Onderzoeksgroep Algemene Plantkunde en NatuurbeheerVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselBelgium

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