Distinguishing and characterizing different landscape patterns have long been the primary concerns of quantitative landscape ecology. Information theory and entropy-related metrics have provided the deepest insights in complex system analysis, and have high relevance in landscape ecology. However, ideal methods to compare different landscape patterns from an entropy view are still lacking. The overall aim of this research is to propose a new form of spatial entropy (
) in order to distinguish and characterize different landscape patterns. Hs
is an entropy-related index based on information theory, and integrates proximity as a key spatial component into the measurement of spatial diversity. Proximity contains two aspects, i.e., total edge length and distance, and by including both aspects gives richer information about spatial pattern than metrics that only consider one aspect. Thus, Hs
provides a novel way to study the spatial structures of landscape patterns where both the edge length and distance relationships are relevant. We compare the performances of Hs
and other similar approaches through both simulated and real-life landscape patterns. Results show that Hs
is more flexible and objective in distinguishing and characterizing different landscape patterns. We believe that this metric will facilitate the exploration of relationships between landscape patterns and ecological processes.
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