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Ecotones are significant regions of landscape heterogeneity that contain elements, patterns, and processes existing and operating at varying spatial scales. Ecotones play a pivotal role in landscape. This can be seen from several viewpoints environmental, biological, economic, historic, aesthetic, etc. Their most crucial task is ecological. Spatial relationships within the surrounding environments are of great importance since ecotones are the zones where communities, populations of plants and animals meet, where they compete, create some tension and blend. In nature ecotones often function as corridors or barriers enabling or restricting the flow of mass or energy. Ecotones represent specific ecosystems in a landscape, corridors for the migration of animals or distribution of plants. They also contribute to soil protection against erosion, etc. During their existence ecotones go through developmental stages which depend primarily on the dynamics of factors in the surrounding environments. Some ecotones are temporally stable some may migrate or mutate. Spatial relationships within the surrounding environments are of great importance since ecotones are the zones where communities, populations of plants and animals meet, where they compete, create some tension and blend. In nature ecotones often function as corridors or barriers enabling or restricting the flow of mass or energy. The temporal and spatial stability of ecotones contributes to the ecological value of the ecotone community and to the greater value of a landscape. We can classify ecotones by various aspects, e.g. by structure. It is difficult to perfectly simulate the real world, due to its complexity. Ecotones capture the nutrients, especially nitrogen, chemicals, pesticides, leached and brought in from surrounding areas. Complement can be even function as the supporting element of landscape structure, which reinforces the structure and landscape heterogeneity. The occurrence of ecotones also corresponds to the intensity of land use, and also reflects the current state, the indicator of environmental changes, because ecotones are colonized by specific range of plant species that represent areas very sensitive to environmental changes. Therefore, its monitoring can be an important tool for detection of various processes, for example the immediate community response to climate change induced due to the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the current cultural landscape ecotones also have a stabilizing function in a mosaic of cultivated ecosystems.
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Last date updated on June, 2014

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