Effects of changing scale on landscape pattern analysis: Scaling relations

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902 Scopus citations


Landscape pattern is spatially correlated and scale-dependent. Thus, understanding landscape structure and functioning requires multiscale information, and scaling functions are the most precise and concise way of quantifying multiscale characteristics explicitly. The major objective of this study was to explore if there are any scaling relations for landscape pattern when it is measured over a range of scales (grain size and extent). The results showed that the responses of landscape metrics to changing scale fell into two categories when computed at the class level (i.e., for individual land cover types): simple scaling functions and unpredictable behavior. Similarly, three categories were found at the landscape level, with the third being staircase pattern, in a previous study when all land cover types were combined together. In general, scaling relations were more variable at the class level than at the landscape level, and more consistent and predictable with changing grain size than with changing extent at both levels. Considering that the landscapes under study were quite diverse in terms of both composition and configuration, these results seem robust. This study highlights the need for multiscale analysis in order to adequately characterize and monitor landscape heterogeneity, and provides insights into the scaling of landscape patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-138
Number of pages14
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


  • Extent
  • Grain
  • Landscape metrics
  • Pattern analysis
  • Scale effects
  • Scaling
  • Scalograms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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