Integrative Analysis of the Landscape

Landscapes are more than just the sum of their parts. The patterns we see on the land manifest a complex set of interactions at multiple temporal and spatial scales. As is clear in these sections featuring landscape analysis focal areas, the physical, cultural, and ecological aspects of the land are strongly linked and intertwined. To truly understand and tell the story of a landscape our analysis and interpretation must be integrative.

How do we go about analyzing the landscape in order to further our understanding of its integrative nature? How can we highlight the connections between components of the landscape so that we discover and elucidate new connections? There are no simple answers to these questions, but in highlighting these four major conceptual approaches—vertical structure analysis, natural community concept, landscape timeline, and the field of landscape ecology—we hope we have provided some assistance to you in your analysis and interpretation of your community.