Changing landscapes, changing disciplines: Seeking to understand interdisciplinarity in landscape ecological change research


Transformation of landscapes worldwide in the 20th century, now continuing into the 21st century, has raised global concerns. Given this circumstance, interdisciplinary landscape change studies are focused on the causes and effects of land-use and land-cover dynamics as well as the ecological and social impacts of alternative design, planning, policy, and management schemes on landscapes and regions. In this paper, we are concerned about a particular type of interdisciplinary landscape change research that uses the principles and theories of landscape ecology as an underlying paradigm for explaining changes in landscapes (called landscape ecological change research, or LEC research, in this paper). While landscape ecological change is the focus of collaborative research efforts, the way in which the collaboration itself is carried out is the subject of debate. We present a framework for public consideration based on Lattuca's continuum of interdisciplinarity (2001) that characterizes the key themes, questions, and issues in the debate about the interdisciplinarity- disciplinarity nature of LEC research that are raised by leading scholars in the peer-reviewed literature. The paper presents this continuum, positions the key literature within this continuum, and then presents recommendations for enhancing future interdisciplinary endeavors. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Landscape and Urban Planning