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Landscape Ecology Principles in Landscape Architecture and Land-Use Planning

by Wenche Dramstad, James Olson, and Richard Forman. Harvard University Press and Island Press (Island Press, 1718 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009), 1996. Paperback, 80 pages, $17.95.

P2. Interior habitat and speciesDividing a large patch into two smaller ones removes interior habitat, leading to reduced population sizes and number of interior species, which are often of conservation importance.

This little book is a real treat. With rare brevity, authors Dramstad, Olson, and Forman present key principles of landscape ecology using succinct explanations and simple graphics.

These principles are followed by visual examples demonstrating how to apply them in landscape architecture and land-use planning.

The principles of landscape ecology are grouped under four categories: patches; edges and boundaries; corridors and connectivity; and mosaics. In each of these categories, 13 to 15 principles are described using just a sentence or two and one or two simple, hand-drawn illustrations (see figure). At the end of each category is a list of key references.

Following the discussion of principles, a number of hypothetical applications demonstrate how the principles can be used in land-use planning and landscape design. Each example uses a series of four illustrations that show the regional context, the study area (a magnification of the area in question), a “better” design, and a “worse” design. These are excellent, but too short and too few. Finally, the book presents 14 actual case studies in which landscape ecology principles were used in planning various forms of development. For example, efforts to provide for wildlife corridors through careful design of bridges and underpasses along Highway 75 (Alligator Alley) in southern Florida are described and illustrated.

If we find fault with Landscape Ecology Principles in Landscape Architecture and Land-Use Planning, it is with the overly designed layout. The illustrations are very small (most less than 2” x 3”—50 x 75 mm), the type is too small to read easily, and the 7” x 9” (180 x 230 mm) pages too full of white space. We would have preferred if some of this graphically appealing white space had been traded for larger illustrations and type—though if this style inspires architects and planners to pick up the book and actually use it, then we’re all for it.



Published April 1, 1997

(1997, April 1). Landscape Ecology Principles in Landscape Architecture and Land-Use Planning. Retrieved from

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