Metapopulations are about the patchiness of populations in space, and the role of this patchiness in population dynamics, population stability, coexistence of species, and the maintenance of diversity. Strict metapopulations focus on colonization and extinction of local populations. They have important applications in conservation biology. Studies of metapopulations, and their generalization to spatially structured populations, emphasize that patchiness markedly alters population dynamics and the outcomes of species interactions. They have implications for the concepts of equilibrium, nonequilibrium dynamics, and population regulation, and hence for management practices.
Chesson, P. (2013). Metapopulations. In Encyclopedia of Biodiversity: Second Edition (pp. 240–251). Elsevier Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-384719-5.00172-6