Coupled ecological and management connectivity across administrative boundaries in undeveloped landscapes

Clare E. Aslan, Mark W. Brunson, Benjamin A. Sikes, Rebecca S. Epanchin-Niell, Samuel Veloz, David M. Theobald, Brett G. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Human-induced ecological boundaries, or anthropogenic ecotones, may arise where administrative boundaries meet on undeveloped lands. Landscape-level ecological processes related to factors such as fire, invasive species, grazing, resource extraction, wildlife, and water may be affected due to unique management strategies adopted by each administrative unit. Over time, different management can result in discernible ecological differences (e.g., species composition or soil characteristics). Thus, fragmentation in the management landscape can correspond to ecological fragmentation. Different ecological patterns may emerge due to an increase in the number of management units in a region, or due to an increase in the number of different types of management units in the region. Temporal effects and collaboration history can also affect the emergence of ecotones. We use conceptual models to explore the relationship between these aspects of management fragmentation and the anthropogenic ecotones between management parcels. We then use examples of different management challenges to explore how anthropogenic ecotones can disrupt ecological flows. Our models suggest that cross-boundary collaboration that enhances management connectivity is likely essential to ecological connectivity in the face of environmental and social change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere03329
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • administrative boundaries
  • ecotone
  • landscape heterogeneity
  • management mosaic
  • management trajectory
  • social-ecological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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