Incorporating Edge Effects into Landscape Design and Management

Thomas D. Sisk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Landscape design and management attempt to anticipate and mitigate the effects of human activities on the composition and structure of landscapes serving diverse and often conflictingpurposes. Natural landscape heterogeneity is typically increased by anthropogenic activities, and one of the most pervasive results is the proliferation of habitat edges. A long history of research on edge effects has led to the general impression that they are frustratingly idiosyncratic and inconsistent.However, recent advances suggest that the direction-if not the magnitude-of edge effects can be predicted; and spatial models allow managers to explore the likely effects of edges on focal species and key ecological processes. These tools provide a new capacity for anticipating changes in animal abundance and ecological processes near edges, while exploring the consequences of alternative landscape designs. By combining species- and process-level understanding with spatial data describing real and hypothetical future landscapes, managers can integrate consideration of edge effects into their decisions and improve the likelihood that sensitive species and key ecosystem services will be conserved as society places increasing demands on a finite land base.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationManaging and Designing Landscapes for Conservation
Subtitle of host publicationMoving from Perspectives to Principles
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781405159142
StatePublished - Apr 15 2008


  • Anthropogenic activities
  • Ecological processes
  • Human activities
  • Land uses
  • Landscape design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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