Why We Care
The effects of humans via land use change and development are the largest and most direct impacts. Other significant overall forces shaping the landscape in this network include the introduction of invasive species, changes in the local fire regimes, the impact of climate change, and light pollution. These forces in combination with the natural ecosystem dynamics form a complex system of landscape dynamics over the southern California region.
Landscape dynamics refer to a broad suite of ecological and geomorphological processes occurring across broad spatial scales. Landscape dynamics can be considered both system drivers (e.g., changes in land use) and response variables (e.g., changes in the amount of grasslands or chaparral due to fire). As a result of the landscape level threats, the Mediterrnean Coast Network Inventory & Monitoring Program (MEDN) has identified landscape dynamics as a vital sign of ecological health.
How We Monitor
The goal of the Landscape Dynamics monitoring protocol for the MEDN is to monitor changes in land cover and land use, vegetation communities, phenology, and light pollution over time in and around park areas. Monitoring at the landscape scale gives a broad perspective on the pattern of changes occurring throughout the entire park, and allows for a future downscaled focus on areas of change within that landscape. Remote sensing methods, especially in combination with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and on-the-ground field data, are cost-effective techniques for measuring landscape-level temporal changes over a continuous area. Remote sensing is commonly used to map changes in land cover type as well as within landscape types and vegetation classes.
Last updated: March 22, 2022