Landscape ecology

Last changed: 08 January 2021
Cows are watching a person looking for something under a stone.

Landscape ecology is the study of ecology with a landscape perspective. No biological system is an isolated island. Local populations, communities and ecosystems always interact to some extent with its surroundings. Further, landscapes may filter which species that colonizes the local communities. Clearly, it is central to have a landscape perspective when investigating how to manage or conserve biodiversity.

As model organisms for investigating landscape ecological processes we use birds, insects (e.g. butterflies) and to lesser extent plants. Using repeated inventories and monitoring data from agricultural landscapes we investigate how modern agriculture changes the landscapes and how that affects local and landscape level biodiversity patterns in time and space. 

Our studies are instrumental for the decisions of how to manage biodiversity, e.g. by:

  • land sparing (reserves) or land sharing (environmental friendly landuse)
  • protecting one big large or several small
  • managing habitat structures of whole landscapes, such as wetlands, semi-natural grasslands

The ultimate goal is to develop long-term and sustainable use of rural and urban landscapes to better develop a functional link between cities and countryside.

Projects and publications

Read more about our projects and publications on the researchers cv-pages

Bird looking out from a whole in a wall.
SLU and Polish researchers show that also renovations of older houses, for example to save energy, has a negative effect on birds. One reason is that possible nesting sites disappear. Photo: Marta Świtała
Bird in the forest.
The Siberian jay is considered indicative of the effect of thinning on bird species relying on a complex forest vegetation according to our research. Photo: Julian Klein
Pasture land.
What is known about the effects of agri-environmental schemes on farmland biodiversity? Quite a lot, but at the same time not as much as we would like, concludes a new study from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, Sweden. Photo: Alistair Auffret
Flower.
Which species are found in today's grasslands to some extent depends on what the surrounding landscape looked like in the past. A fact that both worries and gives hope. Project together with Stockholm University. Photo: Jan Plue
Small chicks in hands.
We have studied a population of wheatears during more than 25 years in an agricultural landscape, southeast of Uppsala. Photo: Debora Arlt
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Page editor: anna.lundmark@slu.se