3DLM – 3D Landscape metrics

The goal of this working group (WG -3DL: is to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration in 3-D landscape metrics development and application and to bring particularly together researchers in landscape ecology, wildlife ecology, regional planning and impact assessment as well as mathematics and informatics.


Landscape metrics are related to the patch-corridor-matrix model, which conceptualizes landscapes as two-dimensional mosaics consisting of discrete patches. Despite its universality, the patch-corridor-matrix model has some important limitations, as, for instance, its planimetric character provokes information losses by neglecting the third dimension of the terrain. Previous studies addressed this issue, by pointing out that the existing set of metrics could be extended by adding attributes related to topography such as height, slope or aspect to address ecological processes dependent from horizontal and lateral fluxes of water, energy and matter in more detail. We intend to develop approaches for 3-D landscape metrics and cooperate on their test and implementation. We envision organizing a series of workshops and cooperate on publications that demonstrate the usability and added-value of 3-D metrics in landscape ecology.

The main action of the Working Group 3DLM – 3D Landscape Metrics was the symposium entitled ‘3D Landscapes. Metrics, techniques and applications’, which was organized as part of the IALE 2017 European Landscape Ecology Congress in Gent. The meeting provided an excellent opportunity to the participants for sharing research experiences and for presenting outcomes of recent studies, addressing the role played by 3D patterns in ecological processes. The talks covered various facets of 3D approaches in landscape ecology, ranging from methodological advances (potential 3D metrics and software tools, analyses at multiple scales) to areas of application (vegetation structure, urban studies, landscape transformation, land use scenario development). In a round table discussion, several challenges for future research were sketched, such as scale dependencies of available data, integration of 2D and 3D formats, relationship with the temporal resolution, and, as a key point, the need of applying the outcomes of 3D-based assessments in relationship to planning. In a nutshell, the discussions emphasized the need of deepening the knowledge regarding the ‘3D’ topic in landscape ecology.

In 2019 it is envisaged to organize, at the IALE World Congress, the symposium ‘3-D landscape metrics and visualization techniques - applications in spatial planning, environmental assessment and participatory decision processes’ We expect to discuss novel methods, techniques and technologies, as well as potential future applications in planning and in participatory decision processes.


Past Activities:

In 2018 several discussions took place at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. The interactions provided an opportunity to exchange ideas on 3D approaches, to progress with the preparation of a joint synthesis paper and to discuss topics of potential project proposals.

In 2017 a Symposium has been organized for the IALE-Europe (12-15 September 2017, Ghent, Belgium):  3D Landscapes. Metrics, techniques and applications:


Application areas

We concentrate on the following application areas:
a.   Implementation through assessing 3-D landscape representations by our suggested indicators (3-D representation means to include vertical structures determined by topography and land cover such as vegetation cover, buildings, etc.).
b.    Identification of potential future habitats and migration routes of flagship species; this addresses the question how such species select their current or potential habitats, how they will move and widen their areas in the future and where potential conflicts with human uses (example wolf, lynx and bear) will arise and how these could be solved through changing the 3-D shape of landscapes
c.    Support of regional planning and development processes regarding landscape design for maintaining / increasing the aesthetical value (preferential sites for wind parks and other aesthetically relevant infrastructures)

Suggested Goals and Activities

a.    Organize periodic meetings of the working group
b.    Develop and test suitable tools / software applications
c.    Enhance collaboration with landscape ecologists working in related topics (e.g. landscape genetics).
d.    Increase visibility of this research topic among scientists working in related fields as well as potential beneficiaries such as planners or other categories of stakeholders.


[1]     Mihai Stupariu – confirmed
[2]     Ileana Stupariu – confirmed
[3]     Christine Fürst – confirmed
[4]     Felix Kienast – confirmed
[5]     Susanne Frank – confirmed
[6]     Malgorzata Grodzinska-Jurzak – confirmed
[7]     Marcin Rechcinski – confirmed
[8]     Kalev Sepp – confirmed
[9]     Miguel Villoslada Pecina – confirmed
[10]     Urmas Peterson – confirmed
[11]     Ulrich Walz – confirmed
[12]     Ralf Syrbe –  confirmed
[13]     Piotr Tyrianowski – invited
[14]     Ulo Mander – invited
[15]     Giovanni Sanesi – invited
[16]     Raffaele Lafortezza – invited
[17]     Emilio Diaz – invited
[18]     Jose Roces Diaz – invited
[19]     Pedro Alvarez Alvarez – invited
[20]     Paola Isaacs Cubides – confirmed
[21]     Marta Kubacka – confirmed
[22]     John Wolf – confirmed


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