Chapter 7 A Terrestrial Landscape Ecology Approach to the Critical Zone
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Landscape ecology provides an important framework for Critical Zone research through: (1) integrating 3D dimensionality in the analysis of landscape systems; (2) contextualizing the Critical Zone processes both temporally and spatially; and (3) investigating problems related with scaling. Humans and their built environment are considered part of the landscape. The landscape ecology system perspective analyzes the landscape in terms of composition, structure, and function. Understanding the complexity of natural systems is a common goal of a variety of diverse disciplines in the Earth sciences and interdisciplinarity is a must. Landscape ecology focuses on distribution and changes in the horizontal plane, whereas Critical Zone research appears to focus more on vertical distributions and changes. A complementary approach would be to combine the two perspectives to form a perspective that combines the horizontality of landscapes with the processes occurring in the vertical direction. Therefore, attention should focus on the properties of the landscape system proper instead of attention being focused on the factors acting upon the land. Therefore, Critical Zone research and landscape ecology are complementary approaches that provide understanding from a transdisciplinarity approach. 2015 Elsevier B.V.