Spatial scaling concepts as applied to the assessment and restoration of drylands

TitleSpatial scaling concepts as applied to the assessment and restoration of drylands
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBestelmeyer BT
Conference Name9th US IALE (Interantional Association of Landscape Ecology) World Congress
Date Published07/2015
Conference LocationPortland, OR
ARIS Log Number319960

Scaling concepts are important because they induce people to think about processes and relationships that might otherwise be overlooked. For land management-related activities, the challenge is to incorporate scaling concepts into routine observation, evaluation, and planning. Drawing on experiences trying to incorporate ecological science into land management planning in drylands, I suggest that three basic scaling principles are becoming common knowledge (and sometimes conventional wisdom). 1) ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’: The arrangement of distinct land areas within a patch or landscape mosaic can produce emergent properties as a consequence of spatial interactions among adjacent land areas. 2) ‘Location matters’: Spatial context provided by the landscape can influence the properties of specific locations. 3) ‘How (not to) lie with maps’: the results of analyses conducted using geographic information systems software depend on the rules by which the map was produced and how the mapped units are interpreted. I will illustrate the importance of these principles for dryland management using examples and discuss how we might better incorporate the principles into routine management activities.  Abstract # S33.