Multiple scale landscape pattern index interpretation for the persistent monitoring of land-cover and land-use

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Title: Multiple scale landscape pattern index interpretation for the persistent monitoring of land-cover and land-use
Author: Spivey, Alvin
Abstract: Mapping land-cover land-use change (LCLUC) over regional and continental scales, and long time scales (years and decades), can be accomplished using thematically identified classification maps of a landscape--a LCLU class map. Observations of a landscape's LCLU class map pattern can indicate the most relevant process, like hydrologic or ecologic function, causing landscape scale environmental change. Quantified as Landscape Pattern Metrics (LPM), emergent landscape pat- terns act as Landscape Indicators (LI) when physically interpreted. The common mathematical approach to quantifying observed landscape scale pattern is to have LPM measure how connected a class exists within the landscape, through nonlinear local kernel operations of edges and gradi- ents in class maps. Commonly applied kernel-based LPM that consistently reveal causal processes are Dominance, Contagion, and Fractal Dimension. These kernel-based LPM can be difficult to interpret. The emphasis on an image pixel's edge by gradient operations and dependence on an image pixel's existence according to classification accuracy limit the interpretation of LPM. For example, the Dominance and Contagion kernel-based LPM very similarly measure how connected a landscape is. Because of this, their reported edge measurements of connected pattern correlate strongly, making their results ambiguous. Additionally, each of these kernel-based LPM are un- scalable when comparing class maps from separate imaging system sensor scenarios that change the image pixel's edge position (i.e. changes in landscape extent, changes in pixel size, changes in orientation, etc), and can only interpret landscape pattern as accurately as the LCLU map classi- fication will allow. This dissertation discusses the reliability of common LPM in light of imaging system effects such as: algorithm classification likelihoods, LCLU classification accuracy due to random image sensor noise, and image scale. A description of an approach to generating well behaved LPM through a Fourier system analysis of the entire class map, or any subset of the class map (e.g. the watershed) is the focus of this work. The Fourier approach provides four improve- ments for LPM. First, the approach reduces any correlation between metrics by developing them within an independent (i.e. orthogonal) Fourier vector space; a Fourier vector space that includes relevant physically representative parameters (i.e. between class Euclidean distance). Second, accounting for LCLU classification accuracy the LPM measurement precision and measurement accuracy are reported. Third, the mathematics of this approach makes it possible to compare image data captured at separate pixel resolutions or even from separate landscape scenes. Fourth, Fourier interpreted landscape pattern measurement can be a measure of the entire landscape shape, of individual landscape cover change, or as exchanges between class map subsets by operating on the entire class map, subset of class map, or separate subsets of class map[s] respectively. These LCLUC LPM are examined along the 1991-1992 and 2000-2001 records of National Land Cover Database Landsat data products. Those LPM results are used in a predictive fecal coliform model at the South Carolina watershed level in the context of past (validation study) change. Finally, the proposed LPM ability to be used as ecologically relevant environmental indicators is tested by correlating metrics with other, well known LI that consistently reveal causal processes in the literature.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/14445
Date: 2011-05-01

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