Prof. Alexander Khoroshev
Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
President of IALE-Russia
Landscape science and landscape ecology traditionally have focused on relations between spatial patterns and ecological processes. In Russian-language version most efforts have been concentrated on establishing abiotic processes that generate spatial patterns affecting human activity. In English-speaking world landscape ecology has paid more attention on how patterns affect ecological processes with strong emphasis on biotic interactions. In present-day nature-oriented landscape studies we distinguish six key concepts. 1) Geotopological determinism – the concept that relates biotic and anthropogenic features to abiotic template. Human activity should adapt to topography and geological conditions in order to avoid undesirable ecological effects. This is seen as one of the core issues in landscape-ecological planning. 2) Matter and energy exchange between vegetation, soils, water, and air. Landscape is treated as a kind of reactor that transforms external signals. Quantitative models of soil-water-phytocoenosis relationships provide opportunities for indicative studies, prediction of chain reactions in a landscape, and estimating allowable anthropogenic loads. 3) Integrative and differentiating functions of lateral matter flows. Knowing matter pathways is critical for evaluating possible remote effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances, projecting buffer zones, and ensuring sustainability of land use. 4) Emergent effects as a result of spatial interactions between landscape units. The focus of applied studies in this issue is projecting appropriate proportions and neighbourhoods of land use units as well as proposals for the compensation effects under anthropogenic impact. 5) Temporal sequence of states. To ensure readiness of economy to future landscape conditions studies deal with characteristic time scales and inertia of components, reversibility of changes, and characteristic range of dynamic fluctuations. 6) Self-regulation and self-organization of a landscape as a complex system. The issues of discrete vs. gradual boundaries, their genesis and possible movements, possibility of several stable states, and bifurcations are crucial for planning future activities in a heterogeneous dynamic landscape.