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date: 14 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

In a virtual landscape you can burn a forest and watch it grow back over hundreds of years, an experiment you could never do in reality. Increasingly, landscape ecology and environmental management use simulation and 3D graphics to investigate complex interactions between the environment and living things. Although some technical issues, especially integrating data and models, are yet to be resolved, virtual ecology is already a crucial tool. The entire planet is now mapped and monitored remotely. Global circulation models capture climatic processes that affect the entire globe. There are virtual tours of many cities and environments. Representing landscapes through 3D modeling reveals issues that have not often been addressed in ecology and help to bridge the barriers between research specializations. The resulting insights are often unexpected, and yet crucial to sustainable management of our planet.

Keywords: ecology, environment, 3D modeling, virtual landscapes, simulation, landscape ecology, climate, complexity

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