Developing a dynamic landscape approach to the study of arid-zone wildlife: challenges and opportunities
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Clive McAlpine, Stuart Phinn, Tony Pople, Norbert Menke, Bronwyn Price, 2007. "Developing a dynamic landscape approach to the study of arid-zone wildlife: challenges and opportunities", Animals of Arid Australia: Out on their own?, Chris Dickman, Daniel Lunney, Shelley Burgin
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Arid zone landscapes are characterised by a high spatial and temporal variability, particularly seasonal variability, observable on a range of scales. This variability is an important factor influencing the distribution and dynamics of wildlife populations in the arid zone. However, progress in dealing with the challenges of space, time and scale in the study of arid zone wildlife has been relatively slow, largely because the seasonally dynamic, often continuous, structure of arid zone landscapes does not match well with the commonly-used discrete patch-matrix-mosaic model of landscape structure. In this chapter, we focus on three key challenges in developing a dynamic landscape approach to the study of arid-zone wildlife: (i) conceptualising landscape structure and dynamics; (ii) dealing with the problem of ecological scale and spatial autocorrelation; and (iii) the challenge of seasonal variability. We present possible approaches to dealing with these by outlining practical concepts and techniques for capturing and analysing the dynamic heterogeneity of arid zone landscapes from a species' perspective. By adopting a spatially and seasonally explicit approach, ecologists will be able to formulate and test new predictions about the influence of the landscape heterogeneity and seasonal variability on species' distribution and abundance, and thereby help advance the conservation of wildlife in the arid zone.