Measuring spatial patterns in floodplains: A step towards understanding the complexity of floodplain ecosystems

Murray Scown, Martin C. Thoms, Nathan R. De Jager

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


This chapter focuses on measuring spatial pattern in floodplains and reviews 108 publications from 1934-2013 to determine trends, dominant paradigms, and approaches to measuring spatial pattern in floodplains. The development of new technologies, especially those associated with remotely sensed data capture, increases the ability to quantitatively measure the spatial complexity of floodplain surfaces. Satellite imagery, aerial photography and airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) now provide quantitative numerical data on many physical and biological attributes of floodplain ecosystems, at increasingly fine resolutions and over vast spatial extents. The chapter provides a case study that highlights the importance of considering scale, self-emergence, spatial organisation, and location when measuring spatial pattern in floodplains. Measuring spatial pattern is one of many steps towards understanding how floodplain ecosystems will respond to increasing pressures, identifying thresholds between multiple stable states, and maintaining the diversity of components, interactions, and feedbacks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRiver Science
Subtitle of host publicationResearch and Management for the 21st Century
EditorsDavid J. Gilvear, Malcolm T. Greenwood , Martin C. Thoms, Paul J. Wood
Place of PublicationChichester
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Inc.
Number of pages28
EditionFirst Edition
ISBN (Electronic)9781118643525
ISBN (Print)9781119994343
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Free keywords

  • aerial photography
  • airborne laser scanning
  • floodplain ecosystems
  • floodplain spatial pattern
  • satellite imagery
  • spatial organisation


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