Clarifying integrative research concepts in landscape ecology

Gunther Tress, Barbel Tress, G. Fry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    148 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Integrative research approaches are intensely discussed in landscape ecology, in academia and in research policy. However, confusion over the terminology hampers communication. Many current landscape ecological research projects have difficulties to agree on a common understanding of the core concepts associated with different forms of integrative research. This is also evidenced by the lack of discussion of integrative research concepts in published papers. This hinders integration in research projects and makes the comparison and evaluation of the outcomes of different research concepts impossible. This paper discusses and defines the meanings of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ( integrative) research approaches to ease discourse on their application in landscape ecological research. It reviews definitions of the concepts found in the research literature and develops definitions of integrative and associated research concepts (disciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity) based on their degree of disciplinary integration and involvement of non-academics. Integrative concepts are viewed as a continuum rather than as fixed categories. The paper discusses the need to develop integrative theory and methods and argues that we should be more explicit when using integrative research concepts in project proposals, project work and publications. Finally, the paper reflects on the ongoing discussion in landscape ecology concerning whether it is developing from an integrative research field towards a discipline in its own right.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)479-493
    Number of pages14
    JournalLandscape Ecology
    Volume20
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2005

    Keywords

    • disciplines
    • epistemology
    • integrative research
    • interdisciplinarity
    • multidisciplinarity
    • research evaluation
    • transdisciplinarity
    • MULTIFUNCTIONAL LANDSCAPES
    • AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES
    • CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
    • INTERDISCIPLINARITY
    • CHALLENGES
    • FRAMEWORK
    • BARRIERS
    • LAND
    • DISCIPLINARY
    • MANAGEMENT

    Cite this

    Clarifying integrative research concepts in landscape ecology. / Tress, Gunther; Tress, Barbel; Fry, G.

    In: Landscape Ecology, Vol. 20, No. 4, 05.2005, p. 479-493.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Tress, Gunther ; Tress, Barbel ; Fry, G. / Clarifying integrative research concepts in landscape ecology. In: Landscape Ecology. 2005 ; Vol. 20, No. 4. pp. 479-493.
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