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Ecological perspective: Linking ecology, GIS, and remote sensing to ecosystem management

January 1, 1994

Awareness of significant human impacts on the ecology of Earth's landscapes is not new (Thomas 1956). Over the past decade (Forman and Godron 1986, Urban et a1. 1987) applications of geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing technologies have supported a rapid rise in landscape.stale research. The heightened recognition within the research community of the ecological linkages between local sites and larger spatial scales has spawned increasing calls for more holistic management of landscapes (Noss 1983, Harris 1984, Risser 1985, Norse et al. 1986, Agee and Johnson 1988, Franklin 1989, Brooks and Grant 1992, Endangered Species Update-Special Issue 1993, Crow 1994, Grumbine 1994). As a result agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service are now converging on "ecosystem management" as a new paradigm to sustainably manage wildlands and maintain biodiversity. However, as this transition occurs, several impediments to implementation of this new paradigm persist, including

(1) significant uncenainty among many land managers about the definition and goals of ecosystem management,

(2) inadequate ecological information on the past and present processes and structural conditions of target ecosystems,

(3) insufficient experience on the part of land managers with the rapidly diversifying array of GIS and remote sensing tools to effectively use them to support ecology-based land management, and

(4) a paucity of intimate, long-term relationships between people (including land managers) and the particular landscape communities to which they belong.

This chapter provides an ecological perspective on these issues as applied to ecosystem management in a southwestern U.S. landscape.

Publication Year 1994
Title Ecological perspective: Linking ecology, GIS, and remote sensing to ecosystem management
Authors Craig D. Allen
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70129532
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center