Biophysical landscape interactions : Bridging disciplines and scale with connectivity

van der Ploeg, Martine J.; Baartman, Jantiene E.M.; Robinson, David A.


Landscape composition and land use impact the interactions between soil and vegetation. Differences in micro-behaviour, driven by the interplay of heterogeneous soil and vegetation dynamics, affect emergent characteristics across a landscape. Scaling approaches to understand the drivers of these emergent characteristics have been attempted, but the blueprint of interacting biophysical processes in landscapes is inherently messy and often still unknown. A complicating factor is single disciplinary focus in environmental sciences. Integrated knowledge is vital especially in view of future challenges posed by climate change, population growth, and soil threats. In this paper, we give examples of biophysical interactions that occur across various temporal and spatial scales and discuss how connectivity can be useful for bridging disciplines and scales to increase our understanding.