Issue 5.3 is now online, including research on stable isotopes, distribution modelling, agriculture, habitat monitoring and surveys. There is a freely available Application article, Geographic assignment with stable isotopes in IsoMAP, by Gabe Bowen et al., and an open access article, Predicting local and non-local effects of resources on animal space use using a mechanistic step selection model, by Jonathan Potts et al.
About the cover: Vegetation structure and its degree of complexity is important for many species, thus a variety of methods and metrics to quantify it have been developed. However, metrics such as leaf area index and canopy cover hide much of the three-dimensional complexity. Terrestrial 3D laser scanners offer ecologists a way to capture the structural complexity, but so far, approaches have been biased towards forestry applications. In ‘Creating vegetation density profiles for a diverse range of ecological habitats using terrestrial laser scanning’, the authors develop a methodology for processing scan data to produce vegetation density profiles across a range of wooded habitats. As well as solving issues not normally encountered in forestry applications, the method is compared against visual methods from three independent observers. The cover image is a screen grab showing the pixel cloud created at one of the survey sites. Importantly, the new methodology is able to capture 3D parameters in a manner that is more detailed and less subjective than traditional approaches.