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

  • Author / Creator
    Haarsma, Darren G
  • 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.

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  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
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    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.