Landscape structure indices for assessing urban ecological networks

Edward A. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


Analysis and planning of ecological networks is a relatively new phenomenon and is a response to fragmentation and deterioration of quality of natural systems. In urban areas, the problems of land use intransigence, political and jurisdictional issues create a difficult environment for implementing ecological networks. The specific questions addressed in this research program revolve around the viability of planning an ecological network in an urban landscape. The development and articulation of an ecological network plan was undertaken previously and in this paper, a series of assays of landscape structure are used to examine the viability of an ecological network in the Phoenix, Arizona urban area. Three principal analyses were utilized: (1) patch content analysis, (2) corridor content analysis, and (3) network structure analysis. Patch and corridor content analyses examined the internal characteristic and immediate context for each of the 89 ecological network elements. The network structure analysis incorporates a process for aggregating results of patch and corridor analyses and incorporates indicators that describe interrelationships between landscape elements. For each of these analyses the existing condition was compared to the optimal plan to demonstrate the level of change that can be expected. The results and conclusions of this research are that an ecological network plan provides modest but important improvement in ecological systems in the Phoenix urban area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2002


  • Ecological networks
  • Landscape structure
  • Urban ecosystems
  • Urban greenways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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