Landscape-scale geomorphic influences on vegetation patterns in four environments

Kathleen C. Parker, Jacob Bendix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


This paper reviews and synthesizes research about geomorphic influences on vegetation patterns apparent at the landscape scale. After an overview of the effects that landforms and geomorphic processes have on plant distributions, these relationships are discussed in more detail for each of four distinct physical settings: temperate riparian environments, slopes affected by landslides and other forms of mass movement, desert alluvial fans, and nonmountainous glaciated landscapes. These four landscapes were selected because they encompass a broad range of temporal and spatial scales at which the geomorphic processes most strongly linked with vegetation patterns operate; furthermore, they collectively illustrate some of the more prominent themes in recent research on this topic. Finally, we identify four topics that particularly merit future research on geomorphic-biogeographic interactions: (1) feedback between vegetation and landforms, (2) distinctions between landform characteristics and the associated geomorphic processes as controls of vegetation patterns, (3) the influence of scale on landform-vegetation relationships, and (4) geographic variation in those relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-141
Number of pages29
JournalPhysical Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Alluvial fans
  • Glaciated landscapes
  • Landscape ecology
  • Landslides
  • Plant geography
  • Riparian environments
  • Vegetation patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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