" BES Project Abstracts 2006
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2006 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Towards a Theory of Urban Land Cover Classification and a Multidimensional Approach to Spatial Heterogeneity of Cities Integrating Natural Features and Social Artifacts.
Cadenasso, Mary
Co-Authors: Cadenasso, M.L.1, S.T.A. Pickett2, and K. Schwarz2, W. Zhou3, A. Troy3, J.M. Grove4, and C.G.Boone5. 1. University of California, Davis, 2. Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook NY, 3. University of Vermont, Burlington, 4. USDA Forest Serv
Abstract: Urban areas are heterogeneous. Transitions in architecture and building density, vegetation, economic activity, and cultures can occur at the scale of city blocks. Ecologists have been criticized for treating the city as homogeneous and urbanization as one dimensional. To develop ecological understanding of urban areas as integrated human-natural systems, the fine scale heterogeneity of their built and natural components must be quantified. We identify a conceptual framework to permit evaluation of land cover/land use classifications. This framework can be used to parse classifications based on scale of application and degree of synthesis across biotic, social, and physical features of urban areas. This framework identifies scales and integrations that are neglected by existing classification systems. We summarize a new classification model to quantify this integrated heterogeneity by reconceptualizing urban land use/land cover classification. The new tool (HERCULES) balances detail and efficiency, and is flexible, allowing it to be used 1) for interdisciplinary research, 2) with ancillary data sets, and 3) across urban systems.