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Five paradigms of landscape ecology and their origins in different concepts of landscape and the society-nature relationship

Thomas Kirchhoff1
1 Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Technische Universität München

F1.O-5 in The Significance of Landscape in Ecology

15.09.2009, 16:45-17:00, H19, NWII

Extensive debate exists on how to define “landscape ecology”, and yet we are far from achieving consensus on wherein its paradigm lies or should lie. However, Wu and Hobbs (2007) have recently suggested that all landscape ecologists agree that it should be inter- or transdisciplinary. – To clarify the terms of the debate, I identify systematically five paradigms of landscape ecology. Three are monodisciplinary (exclusively biological), one is interdisciplinary (combining several natural sciences) and the last one transdisciplinary (combining natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities). I highlight the point that the different paradigms are based on different concepts of landscape, that they presuppose different ideas of the society-nature relationship and thereby connect scientific analysis and societal values in different ways. – I will claim that the interdisciplinary approach described should more accurately be called environmental research, and that the transdisciplinary approach has problematic preconditions, namely, that it is based on a dubious organismic concept of landscape and of the society-nature relationship respectively. I conclude that landscape ecology should be regarded (i) as a monodisciplinary part of the natural science ecology, (ii) which importantly contributes to the inter- and transdisciplinary task of landscape and environmental planning, and (iii) selects its objects of research in an application-oriented way, i.e. guided by societal values.

Letzte Änderung 15.05.2009