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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319960

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

item Bestelmeyer, Brandon

Submitted to: US-International Association for Landscape Ecology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2015
Publication Date: 7/5/2015
Citation: Bestelmeyer, B.T. 2015. Spatial scaling concepts as applied to the assessment and restoration of drylands [abstract]. US-International Association for Landscape Ecology. July 5-10, 2015. Portland, OR. S33.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: 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.