Vegetation Cover As An Index For Human-Environment Interactions In An Urban Watershed (presentation)

LAW, NEELY L.* and L.E. Band.

Vegetation is a major control in the distribution of water and nutrients within a watershed. The pattern of vegetation is modified as watersheds are developed and consequently impact the hydrologic and nutrient cycles within a watershed. It is well documented in the literature that as vegetation is removed, soil erosion and surface runoff is enhanced and there is an inrease in pollutant loading to surface waters. To define a relationship between human and environment interactions at the watershed scale, a study of the pattern of development and selected socio-demographic characteristics are used to predict patterns in vegetation in the Gwynns Falls Watershed. Results of the statistical analysis reveal that multple, integrative factors interact to produce the pattern of vegetation and that the relatinship is non-linear. A general trend in vegetation cover distinguishes between city and county portions of the watershed. The quantification of the structural relationship amongst these variables can be used to parameterize hydro-ecological models for applications in urban ecosystems.