Ecotope mapping for high resolution ecological change measurement across anthropogenic landscapes
Ellis, Erle

This presentation will describe a standardized approach for high-resolution long-term ecological change measurements across densely populated anthropogenic landscapes. The approach is specifically designed for urban, suburban, and village landscapes and is based on the direct interpretation of high resolution (1 m) imagery combined with groundtruthing in the field. The anthropogenic ecotope classification and mapping system characterizes all stable land use systems employed by local land managers in rural, suburban, and urban landscapes, so that data obtained directly from land managers can be integrated with ecological measurements to make spatially-explicit high resolution ecological change estimates across landscapes. The system effectively identified significant ecological changes between the 1940s/50s and the current time across 1 km2 sites in urban Baltimore (Watershed 263) and suburban Baltimore (Cub Hill). Standardized comparisons across sites demonstrated the role of environmental and economic constraints in modulating the ecological impacts of land use change. The relative strengths and weaknesses of ecotope mapping relative to traditional land use/land cover mapping such as the NLCD system will be described, along with strategies for integrating high-resolution site-based measurements with regional data to make regional and global change estimates.

Keywords: long-term ecological change, anthropogenic change, land use, land cover, environmental history

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