1 Introduction

The structure of a landscape, i.e., its composition and arrangement, and the resulting spatial relationships between its individual elements, can be described and quantified by means of landscape metrics. This instrument has been used for more than 20 years in Europe and North America in a variety of studies in the scientific and experimental area. They are now finding their way into such practical applications as assessment procedures for planning (Botequilha Leitão and Ahern, 2002*) and monitoring (Wrbka, 2003*; Heinz Center, 2008*). The present review paper elucidates the role that landscape metrics can play, particularly in the collection of the relevant information, and in the evaluation and monitoring of biodiversity. The focus of the paper is laid on landscape metrics as a means to describe landscape structure and as indicators of biodiversity and the question of which aspects of biodiversity can be met by landscape metrics. Known fields of application in monitoring and landscape management are presented; the impediments encountered, too, are identified.
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