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Landscape fluidity – a unifying perspective for understanding and adapting to global change

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Abstract

Rapid, human-induced global change presents major challenges to researchers, policy-makers and land managers. Addressing these challenges requires an appreciation of the dynamics of ecological systems. Here, we propose ‘landscape fluidity’ as a perspective and research agenda from which to consider landscapes in the process of changing rapidly through both time and space. We define landscape fluidity as the ebb and flow of different organisms within a landscape through time. A range of existing ideas, themes and practical approaches are relevant to landscape fluidity, and we use a case study of scattered tree landscapes in south-eastern Australia to illustrate the benefits of a landscape fluidity perspective. We suggest that a focus on landscape fluidity can bring a renewed emphasis on change in landscapes and so help unify a range of currently separate research themes in biogeography, ecology, palaeoecology and conservation biology.
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Keywords: Adaptive capacity; Australia; biological legacies; climate change; conservation science; landscape dynamics; novel ecosystems; palaeoecology; range shifts; resilience

Document Type: Guest Editorial

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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