This is a brief description of studies that exemplify the methods and approaches that have been developed and used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers in conducting integrated assessments. See the complete list of Integrated Assessment Briefs to find out more about ORNL's efforts in integrated assessment. Contact Mike Farrell ( for more information.

Monitoring and Assessing Ecological Conditions with a Landscape Pattern

Land cover patterns are shown for the Appalachian mountains near Harrisburg (above) and the southeastern coastal plain near Savannah (below). The separation of these landscapes is also shown in three-dimensional space by three pattern metrics.

Which pattern metrics and land cover data, resolution and extent are useful for monitoring at the national and regional scales?

Landscape pattern indicators calculated on remotely sensed data of land cover have been proposed for monitoring biotic diversity, watershed integrity, and resilency of ecosystems. Issues related to data type, uncertainty, and sampling are being addressed. Researchers are seeking to identify a set of metrics that effectively characterize landscape heterogeniety at regional scales for the nation. Effective ways to visualize pattern and change are also being studied.

Hunsaker, C. T., R. V. O'Neill, B. L. Jackson, S. P. Timmins, D. A. Levine, and D. J. Norton. 1994. Sampling to characterize landscape pattern. Landscape Ecology 9(3):207-226.

O'Neill, R. V., K. B. Jones, K. H. Ritters, J. D. Wickham, I. A. Goodman. 1994. Landscape monitoring and assessment research plan. EPA/620/R-94/009. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Las Vegas, Nev.

Hunsaker, C. T., D. A. Levine, S. P. Timmins, B. L. Jackson, and R. V. O'Neill. 1992. Landscape characterization for assessing regional water quality. pp. 997-006. In D. H. McKenzie, D. E. Hyatt, and V. J. McDonald (eds). Ecological Indicators, Vol 2. Elsevier Applied Science, N.Y.

Hunsaker, C. T., R. L. Graham, G. W. Suter, R. V. O'Neill, L. W. Barnthouse, and R. H. Gardner. 1990. Assessing ecological risk on a regional scale. Environmental Management 14(3): 325-332.

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Integrated Assessment Briefs. 1995. ORNL/M-4227. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.