Environmental heterogeneity has recently received increased attention due to its effect on biological diversity, ecosystem services and ecological resilience to disturbance and hazards. However, its relationships with landscape complexity as an indicator of visual aesthetic quality have not been yet extensively discussed.
In a new paper written by Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning Iryna Dronova, different dimensions of environmental heterogeneity are reviewed and explored for their potential for bridging visual quality with provision of other ecosystem services and resilience in landscape design, management and planning.
Published in the upcoming July 2017 issue of Landscape and Urban Planning Journal, “Environmental Heterogeneity as a Bridge Between Ecosystem Service and Visual Quality Objectives in Management, Planning and Design” reveals the substantial overlap between spatial and temporal indicators of heterogeneity from ecological literature and the indicators of visual complexity, diversity and variety from the studies of subjective preferences and objective scenic beauty criteria. The potential of heterogeneity is also reviewed in the context of the relationship between visual quality and ecological resilience to perturbations, an increasingly important objective in the face of the global environmental change.
Additionally, the limitations of heterogeneity as a design and management goal are also discussed, including links between heterogeneity and disturbance, undesirable outcomes of excessive landscape complexity and present lack of criteria for its optimal levels. Professor Dronova ultimately concludes by identifying the key strategies and research needs to facilitate the application of this concept towards multi-functional landscapes supporting versatile ecosystem services together with scenic priorities.
You can read more about Professor Dronova's research here.