N = total number of patches in the landscape.
Description NP equals the number of patches in the landscape. Note, NP does not include any internal background patches (i.e., within the landscape boundary) or any patches at all in the landscape border, if present.
Units None
Range NP ≥ 1, without limit.
NP = 1 when the landscape contains only 1 patch.
Comments Number of patches often has limited interpretive value by itself because it conveys no information about area, distribution, or density of patches. Of course, if total landscape area is held constant, then number of patches conveys the same information as patch density or mean patch size and may be a useful index to interpret. Number of patches is probably most valuable, however, as the basis for computing other, more interpretable, metrics. Note that the choice of the 4-neighbor or 8-neighbor rule for delineating patches will have an impact on this metric.