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I am confused about the selection of in, of or to I want to explain that "changes in hydrological variables and changes in landscape variables in wetlands can change the populations of waterbirds" Here are some options, I am not sure they are right or not. Can someone please help that which one is explaining it best and why?

1) Changes in wetland hydrological and landscape variables can alter the population dynamics of waterbirds.

2) Changes of hydrology and landscapes in wetlands can alter the population dynamics of waterbirds.

3) Changes to hydrology and landscapes in wetlands can alter the population dynamics of waterbirds.

4) Hydrological and landscape changes in wetlands can alter the population dynamics of waterbirds.

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Here are the implications as per my understanding:

  1. Changes in wetland hydrological and landscape variables can alter the population dynamics of waterbirds.

The implication is some kind of chemical or similar changes that have been observed in the midlands. These are not conscious or active alterations but could be due to a larger phenomenon or some kind of pollution or similar.

  1. Changes of hydrology and landscapes in wetlands can alter the population dynamics of waterbirds.

The implication is of replacement such as replacing one kind of hydrology or landscape with another.

  1. Changes to hydrology and landscapes in wetlands can alter the population dynamics of waterbirds.

There is the implication of an outer hand that is making these changes or alterations and the tone is somewhat of a warning.

  1. Hydrological and landscape changes in wetlands can alter the population dynamics of waterbirds.

In this sentence formation the emphasis is on Hydrological and landscape change with the exclusion of other changes.

Hope it helps

1

I should say I have no idea about both "Geographic Science" and "intended meaning". So I will answer pointing out possible "senses" that those prepositions contribute to the sentence when used together with "change".

In: shows a state, condition, character, or quality. E.g. change in attitudes

of: implies some sort of "replacement". E.g. change of government

from, to: implies transition / transformation. E.g. a color change from green to brown

  • I think your explanations are correct, except that they omit the very relevant sense of change to found in e.g. "We're making changes to our website." – ruakh Oct 13 '17 at 3:21

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