Open-source Tools in R for Landscape Ecology


Landscape ecology, the study of the complex interactions between landscapes and ecological processes, has hugely benefited from the increase in widely available open-source software in recent years. In particular, the R programming language provides a wealth of community developed tools for landscape ecology. In this paper, we examine existing packages for downloading, processing and visualisation of spatial data, as well as those specifically developed for spatial ecological analysis. Additionally, we outline the results of a survey of R users within the landscape ecology community. We found that landscape ecologists are generally satisfied with the functionality available within R, and that as a community they are continually further developing the functionality available. Suggested future developments include improvement of computation performance; additional methods for landscape characterisation such as surface metrics; and advanced, accessible visualisation tools.

Current Landscape Ecology Reports
Maximilian H.K. Hesselbarth
Postdoctoral Fellow

Ecological Modelling