Landscape ecology is a subdiscipline of ecology and physical geography that is interested in the spatial arrangement of elements in the landscape (such as fields, hedgerows, woodlots, rivers or towns) and how their distribution affects the distribution and flow of energy and individuals in the environment (which, in turn, may influence the distribution of the elements themselves.)
Many different indices of landscape pattern have been developed. The growth of landscape ecology owes much to the development of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology and the availability of large-extent habitat data (e.g. remotely sensed satellite images or aerial photography). Its theoretical underpinnings originate from MacArthur & Wilson's Island Biogeography theory and subsequent metapopulation theory. Landscape ecology typically deals with problems in an applied and holistic context.