Towns and villages are sometimes viewed as minor, even quaint, spots, whereas this book boldly reconceptualizes these places as important dynamic environmental 'hotspots'. Multitudes of towns and villages with nearly half the world's population characterize perhaps half the global land surface. The book's pages feature ecological patterns, processes, and change, as well as human dimensions, both within towns and in strong connections and effects on surrounding agricultural land, forest land, and arid land. Towns, small to large, and villages are examined with spatial and cultural lenses. Ecological dimensions - water, soil and air systems, together with habitats, plants, wildlife and biodiversity - are highlighted. A concluding section presents concepts for making better towns and better land. From a pioneer in both landscape ecology and urban ecology, this highly international town ecology book opens an important frontier for researchers, students, professors, and professionals including environmental, town, and conservation planners.