Principles of ecology

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New insights into the natural world are just a few of the results from the use of fractal geometry.

Examples from population and landscape ecology are used to illustrate the usefulness of fractal

geometry to the field of ecology. The advent of the computer age played an important role in the

development and acceptance of fractal geometry as a valid new discipline. New insights gained from

the application of fractal geometry to ecology include: understanding the importance of spatial and

temporal scales; the relationship between landscape structure and movement pathways; an increased

understanding of landscape structures; and the ability to more accurately model landscapes and

ecosystems. Using fractal dimensions allows ecologists to map animal pathways without creating an

unmanageable deluge of information. Computer simulations of landscapes provide useful models for

gaining new insights into the coexistence of species. Although many ecologists have found fractal

geometry to be an extremely useful tool, not all concur.

With all the new insights gained through the

appropriate application of fractal geometry to natural sciences, it is clear that fractal geometry a

useful and valid tool.

New insight into the natural world is just one of the results of the increasing popularity and use of

fractal geometry in the last decade. What are fractals and what are they good for? Scientists in a

variety of disciplines have been trying to answer this question for the last two decades. Physicists,

chemists, mathematicians, biologists, computer scientists, and medical researchers are just a few of

the scientists that have found uses for fractals and fractal geometry.

Ecologists have found fractal geometry to be an extremely useful tool for describing ecological

systems. Many population, community, ecosystem, and landscape ecologists use fractal geometry as

a tool to help define and explain the systems in the world around us. As...