" BES Project Abstracts 2005
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2005 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts


Long-term ecological changes in urban and suburban Baltimore landscapes
 
Erle C. Ellis
 
Abstract: Long-term ecological changes within densely populated landscapes account for a growing share of global environmental change. Measuring the causes and consequences of these changes remains a challenge because of their fine spatial scale and the complex pathways by which intensive landscape transformations occur. Here, we measure and compare long-term ecological changes, circa 1950 to 2002, within six 1 km2 sites in urban and suburban Baltimore (Watershed 263, Cub Hill) and in densely populated rural China, by means of field-validated fine-scale feature-based ecological interpretation of high spatial resolution (1 m) imagery. Detailed analysis of fine-scale landscape transformations helped identify the causes and consequences of land use changes within and across sites, including changes in impervious surfaces and perennial vegetation cover associated within changes in population density. These results demonstrate the general utility of fine-scale ecological mapping as a tool for cross-site comparison and sampled regional estimates of long-term ecological changes within densely populated landscapes.