Sauchyn-2001-Modelling the hydroclimatic disturbance of soil landscapes in the Southern Canadian Plains the problems of scale and place

The sensitivity of soil landscapes to climatic variability and hydroclimatic events can
be expressed as a landscape change safety factor, the ratio of potential disturbance to resistance to
change. The use of a geographic information system (GIS) enables the spatially-explicit modeling
of landscape sensitivity, but also raises the risk of violating the characteristic scales of disturbance
and resistance, because the GIS technically simplifies the extrapolation of models, and associated
concepts, to landscapes and scales not represented by the digital data base. Embedding landscape
sensitivity into hierarchy theory, the formal analysis of the hierarchical structure of complex systems,
provides a conceptual framework for the transfer of models and variables among landscape scales.