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Quantifying landscape pattern in the Ouachita National Forest: an ecological application of GIS-based spatial analysis and modeling
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Human induced land use changes are contributing to raphics. serious ecological impacts in National Forests. Although these types of human activities are being looked upon with great concern, the contribution of human development and disturbance to changing the structure and function of these forested landscapes has not been adequately analyzed or considered in land management and planning. Consideration of landscape ecological principles should be a crucial part of land management and planning within our National Forests. Yet, there is little attention directed towards examining the causes and effects of human activities on the spatial structure of these landscapes. Quite often, anthropogenically-induced land-use changes and disturbances involve major alterations in spatial pattern. Because of the importance of effects of spatial pattern and configuration on ecological processes, many land and resource managers are beginning to realize the need to develop ways to detect and quantify pattern in the landscape. The need for quantifying landscape pattern in forested landscapes is particularly relevant to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, whose mission is to sustain the ecosystem health and to provide for sustainable human use within our National Forests. The opportunities provided by the spatial analytical tools and modeling capabilities of geographic information technology (G1S) and the fundamental concepts of Landscape Ecology were utilized in an investigation of the potential ecological implications of anthropogenic disturbance in forested landscapes. This thesis research, which is based upon the fundamental concepts of Landscape Ecology, supplies qualitative and quantitative measures of how human activities are impacting the structure, function and processes of National Forest landscapes. By quantifying landscape structures in areas with varying levels of human disturbance based on landscape ecological principles, this study shows that use of landscape ecological principles and spatial analysis tools can provide novel insight into past, present and future landscape structure and function. In turn, this understanding can provide land managers and planners with more justifiable and sustainable decision-making capabilities.
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Includes bibliographical references: p. 71-75.
Meyer, Delayne Marie (1998). Quantifying landscape pattern in the Ouachita National Forest: an ecological application of GIS-based spatial analysis and modeling. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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