Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.1086/599292
Title: Transition from Connected to Fragmented Vegetation across an Environmental Gradient: Scaling Laws in Ecotone Geometry
Authors: Gastner, Michael T 
Oborny, Beata
Zimmermann, DK
Pruessner, Gunnar
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Ecology
Evolutionary Biology
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Patch dynamics
Landscape connectivity
Environmental gradient
Tree line
Fractal geometry
ABRUPT POPULATION-CHANGES
SPECIES BORDERS
HABITAT FRAGMENTATION
EXTINCTION THRESHOLDS
METAPOPULATION DYNAMICS
LANDSCAPE CONNECTIVITY
FRACTAL LANDSCAPES
PHASE-TRANSITIONS
TREELINE ECOTONES
SPATIAL-PATTERNS
Issue Date: 1-Jul-2009
Publisher: UNIVERSITY CHICAGO PRESS
Citation: Gastner, Michael T, Oborny, Beata, Zimmermann, DK, Pruessner, Gunnar (2009-07-01). Transition from Connected to Fragmented Vegetation across an Environmental Gradient: Scaling Laws in Ecotone Geometry. AMERICAN NATURALIST 174 (1) : E23-E39. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.1086/599292
Abstract: A change in the environmental conditions across space-for example, altitude or latitude-can cause significant changes in the density of a vegetation type and, consequently, in spatial connectivity. We use spatially explicit simulations to study the transition from connected to fragmented vegetation. A static (gradient percolation) model is compared to dynamic (gradient contact process) models. Connectivity is characterized from the perspective of various species that use this vegetation type for habitat and differ in dispersal or migration range, that is, "step length" across the landscape. The boundary of connected vegetation delineated by a particular step length is termed the " hull edge." We found that for every step length and for every gradient, the hull edge is a fractal with dimension 7/ 4. The result is the same for different spatial models, suggesting that there are universal laws in ecotone geometry. To demonstrate that the model is applicable to real data, a hull edge of fractal dimension 7/4 is shown on a satellite image of a piñon-juniper woodland on a hillside. We propose to use the hull edge to define the boundary of a vegetation type unambiguously. This offers a new tool for detecting a shift of the boundary due to a climate change. © 2009 by The University of Chicago.
Source Title: AMERICAN NATURALIST
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/168550
ISSN: 00030147
15375323
DOI: 10.1086/599292
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