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What is Landscape Ecology?

Landscape ecology is the study of variation within and among landscapes at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. It seeks to understand the biophysical and societal causes and consequences of landscape heterogeneity. Above all, it is interdisciplinary.

The conceptual and theoretical core of landscape ecology links natural and social sciences. Landscape ecology has several additional core themes:    

  • the spatial and temporal pattern of landscapes, ranging from wilderness to cities,

  • the relationship between pattern and process in landscapes,

  • the relationship of human activity to landscape pattern, process, and change,

  • the effect of scale and disturbance on landscapes. 

Throughout the world, landscapes are being altered more rapidly, more extensively, and more profoundly than at any point in human history.  Landscape ecology provides locally important and policy relevant information about landscape change.  Landscape ecologists serve as a critical link between theory and action:  We provide information about risks for decision makers, improve the applicability and accuracy of planning tools, integrate uncertainty into forecasting. Landscape ecology has contributed to sound planning with foresight: Forest management for rare species, conservation design, comprehensive land use planning, and sound land use policy are just a few of the many examples. 

Our Mission Statement

The International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) promotes landscape ecology as the scientific basis for the analysis, planning, and management of the landscapes across the world.

IALE advances international co-operation through scientific, scholarly, educational and communication activities.

IALE encourages landscape ecologists to transcend boundaries and disciplines, to collaboratively build theory and develop knowledge of landscape pattern and process, to develop integrative tools and apply them to real landscape situations, and to apply our science towards solving problems.

IALE envisions a future characterized by:

  • Widespread recognition, within the scientific community, of the contributions made by landscape ecologists.

  • Rigorous research and scholarship, resulting from active collaboration and interdisciplinary synergism among diverse fields encompassed by biophysical sciences, social sciences, humanities.

  • Natural resource management, land planning and design, conservation, and land use policy widely, routinely, and creatively based on principles of landscape ecology. 

How does IALE work?

The International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE-World: the parent organization) is a world-wide organization of landscape ecologists.  IALE-World facilitates discussion and stimulates interaction across our many chapters.  We strive to facilitate collaborations among landscape ecologists around the world. To achieve its aims, IALE-World activities include:

  • Maintains a website (you are here)
  • Communicates regularly to members about relevant activities happening around the globe
  • Organizes a World Congress every four years
  • Assists with regional conferences
  • Promotes and assists our numerous national and regional chapters
  • Organizes Working Groups around research themes, bringing together expertise to solve problems and conduct the highest-quality research
  • Provides funding for Early Career Scientists and Chapters




International Association for Landscape Ecology

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