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Spatial Analysis of Agricultural land Conversion and its Associated Drivers in Alberta Open Access


Other title
Agricultural land Conversion
Spatial Modeling
Agricultural land fragmentation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Haarsma, Darren G
Supervisor and department
Qiu, Feng (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Adamowicz, Vic (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Swallow, Brent (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Qiu, Feng (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Cathcart, Jason (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Alberta is a region undergoing substantial agricultural land use changes due to rapid economic and population growth, however the extent of such changes and the driving forces behind have not been assessed in detail due to data limitations. This three-part study makes use of recent developments in remote sensing data to assess the extent and model the drivers of agricultural land converted to developed (built-up) land uses in Alberta from 2000 to 2012. To give context to the issue of conversion, a comprehensive review of agricultural land use changes within the Whitezone of Alberta was completed. A first difference spatial lag model was developed to look at the drivers of agricultural land conversion at the county level. To improve the resolution and the diversity of factors being assessed, a township level geographically weighted regression model was developed to analyze the spatial non-stationarity of environmental and socioeconomic influences of conversion. Agricultural land conversion and intensification from pasture to annual cropping uses were the two major agricultural land use changes found. Agricultural land conversion was revealed to have strong neighbour spillover effects both directly and by way of mobile populations. Factors influencing conversion rates were found to be spatially heterogeneous in both magnitude and sign, which reflects the wide variety in agricultural land conversion processes occurring throughout the province. The combination of results within this study has the potential to be useful to policy makers in Alberta at various jurisdictional levels. With population growth expected to continue, the effects of population increases on agricultural land conversion in particular have strong implications for the future of the province.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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