Assessing the Relative Importance of Factors at Multiple Spatial Scales Affecting Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife

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The ability to understand a given ecological process depends on the scale of observation.

Researchers reviewed recent studies focused on assessing the relative roles of factors operating at different scales and their influence on wildlife populations and behavior. The authors documented trends and advances in approaches used to assess the impact of drivers at different scales, highlighting recent advances in remote sensing-based data collection that can increase the range of scales over which detailed measurements can be made. Conclusions were that after nearly three decades of studies focused on the relative importance of different scales, there is no clear evidence that one scale consistently plays a larger role than others. Ecological systems are influenced by processes operating at different spatial scales that interact in complex ways. Heightened focus on these interactions may build a better understanding of which factors affect a given process, at what scales they operate, and how they change over time.

Lawler, J.J., Torgersen, C.E., 2019, Assessing the relative importance of factors at multiple spatial scales affecting terrestrial and aquatic wildlife: Current Landscape Ecology Reports,

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Date published: November 20, 2017
Status: Active

Aquatic & Landscape Ecology Research Team (FRESC)

Fresh waters are one of the most valuable and threatened resources worldwide. They supply critical services to society and harbor many of the world’s most imperiled species. We conduct research and provide technical assistance to address challenges to fresh waters. Our research focuses on ecological processes in freshwater and terrestrial systems and the effects of those processes on landscape...