Landscape Evolution: Landforms, Ecosystems, and Soils asks us to think holistically, to look for the interactions between the Earth's component surface systems, to consider how universal laws and historical and geographical contingency work together, and to ponder the implications of nonlinear dynamics in landscapes, ecosystems, and soils. Development, evolution, landforms, topography, soils, ecosystems, and hydrological systems are inextricably intertwined. While empirical studies increasingly incorporate these interactions, theories and conceptual frameworks addressing landforms, soils, and ecosystems are pursued largely independently. This is partly due to different academic disciplines, traditions, and lexicons involved, and partly due to the disparate time scales sometimes encountered. Landscape Evolution explicitly synthesizes and integrates these theories and threads of inquiry, arguing that all are guided by a general principle of efficiency selection. A key theme is that evolutionary trends are probabilistic, emergent outcomes of efficiency selection rather than purported goal functions. This interdisciplinary reference will be useful for academic and research scientists across the Earth sciences.
Chapter 1 An integrated approach to landscape evolution
Chapter 2 Earth surface systems as supraorganisms
Chapter 3 Observing landscape evolution
Chapter 4 It depends on the scale: scale contingency in landscape evolution
Chapter 5 Historical contingency in landscape evolution
Chapter 6 Attractors and goal functions in landscape evolution
Chapter 7 Thresholds, tipping points, and instability
Chapter 8 Selection and landscape evolution
Chapter 9 The perfect landscape
Chapter 10 Landscape evolution and environmental change
Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Earth Surface Systems and University Research Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Kentucky and an affiliate of the "Blue Cats" research team in the Forest Ecology unit of the Sylva Tarouc Institute, Brno, Czech Republic. He previously held faculty positions at East Carolina, Texas A&M, and Arizona State Universities. Phillips has been recognized with distinguished career awards from both the British Society for Geomorphology (Linton Medal) and the Geomorphology Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers (Marcus Award), as well as several other research awards. He is the author of more than 200 refereed research publications across the fields of geomorphology, pedology, hydrology, ecology, environmental science, and quantitative geography.