For much of my career, I have been a bit frustrated by the lack of a single textbook or two that covered the material at a level appropriate to my students. To be fair, the issue has not been an actual lack of articles and books but rather, an overwhelming number of these—the material covers a lot of topical space! As a result, I have accumulated lecture notes for a couple decades, and it seemed reasonable enough to compile these into book form. My book project is essentially to convert each of my core courses—one concepts, one tools—into books that others might use as references or textbooks.
Urban, DL. 2023. Agents and implications of landscape pattern: Working models for landscape ecology. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-40254-8
This is a book on ecological concepts as these apply at the landscape scale. The book begins with three chapters on the main agents of pattern: the physical template (e.g., gradients in temperature, moisture, and soil factors; Chapter 1), biological processes (e.g., demography, gradient response; Chapter 2), and disturbance regimes (Chapter 3), along with the interactions and feedbacks among these agents. These chapters broach issues of spatio-temporal scaling, and the next two chapters cover scale and scaling (Chapter 4) and landscape pattern (especially, inferences on pattern; Chapter 5). Implications of pattern are explored next, for populations and metapopulations (Chapter 6), communities and patterns of biodiversity (Chapter 7), and ecosystem processes (Chapter 8). The book concludes with chapters on urban landscapes (Chapter 9) and adapting landscapes for climate resilience (Chapter 10).
Throughout this book, I emphasize general conceptual models that can be applied to any landscape, with the expectation that how the models apply will depend on regional climate, topography, biogeography, and human influences. That is, all landscapes work the same but each is unique.
Urban, DL. Landscape ecology: A task-oriented perspective. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. (coming in 2024)
This book is intended the complement first, by covering the fundamental tasks in working at the landscape scale. These tasks begin with sampling designs for inventory and monitoring as well as tactical sampling for research applications (Chapter 1). The second chapter outlines the workflow of habitat classification or species distribution modeling, from ecological considerations, through variable selection and data wrangling, to fitting statistical models, to model evaluation and reporting. This task broaches most of the empirical issues that confound ecological applications, and so motivates several chapters on ecological data and analysis: the nature of ecological data sets (Chapter 3), ordination techniques (Chapter 4), and tools for classification (Chapter 5). These are largely descriptive or utilitarian tools, and the next two chapters focus more on inference: with spatial (autocorrelated) data (Chapter 6) and with the tangled web of correlations typical of ecological data (Chapter 7, on structural equation models). I then return to applied tasks, with site prioritization (Chapter 8), which is an exercise in structured decision-making. I consider landscape change in Chapter 9, including change detection from monitoring data, capturing landscape change in simple models, and forecasting these changes into the future. The last chapter, on ecological assessment (Chapter 10) ties many of the tasks together in an integrated framework for interpreting landscape change due to natural processes as well as management interventions (e.g., restoration).
The book’s chapter outline is organized into a logical workflow from task to task. Within each chapter, the emphasis is on the workflow for each task. That is, the work of landscape ecology is not merely a collection of tasks; it is a sequence and integration of tasks.