Landscape Ecology - a rapidly growing science - quantifies the ways ecosystems interact. It establishes links between activities in one region and repercussions in another. Landscape Ecology: A Top-Down Approach serves as a general introduction to this emerging area of study.
In this book the authors take a "top down" approach. They believe that context is equally as important as content and that an isolated, dismembered landscape fragment loses biodiversity. In contrast, past and current ecosystem studies have not considered the consequences of outside influences.
The authors argue that the most detailed mathematical models of biodiversity within a landscape do not suffice to predict the outcome of management practices if the contextual analysis reveals that human impacts outside the landscape contribute to a reserve's ultimate demise. The material presented in this book demonstrates that protecting disconnected vignettes of nature in isolated national parks and reserves, or saving so-called "hot spots" of biodiversity, does not work.
The rapid convergence of themes in ecology supports the study of the ecology of landscapes. Advances in this field will come from studies in landscape effects and the mobile organisms whose top down effects create and maintain landscapes. Landscape Ecology: A Top Down Approach supplies the basics for this work.