U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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Published in LANDSLIDE ECOLOGY (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), by Lawrence R. Walker (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and Aaron B. Shiels (USDA National Wildlife Research Center, Hila, Hawai’i).


This document is a U.S. government work, not subject to copyright in the United States.


1. Remote sensing tools have greatly improved the mapping of both terrestrial and submarine landslides, particularly at global scales. At regional and local scales, environmental correlates are being found that help interpret spatial patterns and related ecological processes on landslides.

2. Landslides are frequent on only 4% of the terrestrial landscape and coverage varies over time because new landslides do not occur at a constant rate.

3. Multiple landslides triggered by the same event, such as an earthquake or severe rainstorm, can vary in physical characteristics. This variety contributes to a mosaic of landslide conditions across the landscape.

4. A landslide environment contrasts with the more stable conditions found in adjacent habitats. The transitions between landslide and adjacent habitats in light, fertility, stability, and other characteristics can be abrupt to gradual, sometimes making it difficult to define where a landslide begins or ends.

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