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Modelling landscape changes and metrics, and determining optimal resource allocation by integrating Geographic Information Systems, government policy, and economics

  • Author / Creator
    Stan, Kayla D
  • The main goal of this thesis is to contribute to the knowledge base of land use and land cover change dynamics in ecologically sensitive, seasonal environments with a dominant agricultural industry. Anthropogenic alteration by land-based industries currently threatens many ecosystems, including the neotropics, and agricultural belt of North America. By fusing spatial information with socioeconomics through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial modeling platforms, gaps in the understanding of the dynamics in these landscapes are addressed. Biogeophysical variables, used in conjunction with the landscape maps, were utilized to develop a baseline projection model in the Dinamica Environment for Geoprocessing Objects (EGO). Future scenarios were based on integrating legislative polices and economic factors. This makes it an effective tool for policy makers. The second chapter outlines the impacts of current legislation, in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, on the remaining natural land. Recent revisions to the federal environmental policy and international agreements, of which the country is a signatory, will lead to different environmental paths. A secondary economic model indicates that incorporating the value of biodiversity into the land sale price can significantly decrease the quantity of land that is altered over the next decade. The third chapter runs a similar integrated modeling system in Alberta, Canada. Alberta, however, has sparse environmental policies and the platform served as a method of creating and predicting the effects of legislation on the landscape. If the government intervenes and deters urban sprawl that has historically been present, there are several ways to balance economic growth and environmental protection through landscape design policies. The results of my research indicate that the Dinamica system is an effective cross-continental tool for policy makers. Future research should focus on the integration of information into a holistic system. It should also include avenues to engage in interdisciplinary studies. Communication of the research to a broader audience and engagement of these sectors in the decision-making processes are key, not only in LCC modeling, but in many aspects of environmental study.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2015-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R36970376
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Sanchez-Azofeifa, Arturo (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Musilek, Petr (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    • Rivard, Benoit (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)