Ekotony GIS

About project

The aim of the project is to analyze spatial bonds of ecotons and to model dynamics structure of landscape system by an example of watershed of Trkmanka river in time period of 1764-2006, which is app. 230 years.

The base model element is landuse category acquired by mapping in scale 1:25000 and by study of historical maps. Individual categories of landuse will be analyzed from ecotons (transitional zones between ecosystems) point of view in relation to physical-geographic condition of specified area.The project solves spatial organization and landscape dynamics by the study of boundary of landscape elements – ecotons. On the basis of their occurrence in study area there will be implemented typification, hierarchy structure and set up stability and permeability, the rate of person’s influence, spatial structure and following visualization. The aim of the project is also to reveal optimal structure of landscape with stress to ecoton’s role and prognosis of its development based on new knowledge of edge effect and analysis results.
Project connects to international project C 12 – 090 The Response of Fluvial Systems to Large Scale Land Use Changes, which database and outputs will be updated, enlarged and newly processed by the project. The outputs will be used for new analysis and modelling.

The results of our research and the information collected within the project are summarized in the final book. Our research took three years, which is rather a short period of time in terms of landscape and hence the aim was not to answer all the questions related to ecotone dynamics and stability, but to lay the groundwork for more specific research into those significant landscape elements identified. The research into ecotones enabled a better understanding of the causal relationships between particular landscape elements, landscape utilisation categories and ecotones. It partially provided visualisation of events occurring in ecotones in a context that had not been studied and written about up to now. First, particular methods being used in botanical sciences and geoinformatics were applied, then the results were integrated using geostatistics and IT procedures and finally a new method of research was designed and tested.

By studying ecotones, we wanted to extend knowledge of patterns having an influence on the landscape condition, structure, functions, landscape elements and their relationships. In order to analyse the spatial relationships of landscape elements, we had to identify the particular elements and the system and quality of relationships between them. The ecotones were analysed and typologically classified in compliance with the existing state of understanding of the landscape and landscape elements and the existing knowledge of the issue.

When studying cultural landscape in particular time horizons, ecotones were viewed as boundaries between specific landscape utilisation units, but when studying “natural” landscape at the level of potential vegetation, they were viewed as boundaries between potential natural vegetation units (i.e. convergent and divergent boundaries). The existence and typology of an ecotone community is a manifestation of non-living elements of nature, of human impact and of other living organisms. Their interactions vary considerably when comparing their impact in the current landscape with its vegetation and in a potential landscape with its potential vegetation not being influenced by anthropogenic activities.

The research confirmed that ecotones are important landscape structures and that they reflect both the quality of the natural environment and the intensity of the human impact. Ecotones may serve as one of the distinctive indicators of the impact humans have on landscape. It is therefore necessary to develop more advanced methods of studying ecotones.


© Katedra geoinformatiky UP Olomouc 2007