Patch dynamics


Urban spatial patchiness as represented by the HERCULES land cover classification. Urban areas include much fine-scale heterogeneity, which may be important for how the system functions socially and ecologically. In particular, spatial patchiness may control the effects of social processes and built covers on ecosystem functions.
This false color infrared aerial photo of the Glyndon area of Baltimore County, MD, shows healthy vegetation in red. Impervious surfaces such as roofs, streets and parking lots, show up as other colors and can be distinguished by a computer algorithm or a human investigator.
The patches in this image are differentiated on the basis of how much cover is contributed by trees, by grass, by pavement, by bare ground, and by buildings of different types. Even patches that would be classified as residential by the traditional classification differ based on several of the major contrasts in cover. Credit: Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER Photo. For details see Cadenasso et al. (2007).

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