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Evaluating Satellite Imagery‐Based Land Use Data for Describing Forestland Development in Western Washington

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Forestry professionals are concerned about how forestlands are affected by residential and other development. To address those concerns, researchers must find appropriate data with which to describe and evaluate rates and patterns of forestland development and the impact of development on the management of remaining forestlands. We examine land use data gathered from Landsat imagery for western Washington and evaluate its usefulness for characterizing low-density development of forestland. We evaluate the accuracy of the satellite imagery‐based land use classifications by comparing them with other data from US Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis inventories and the US census. We then use the data to estimate an econometric model describing development as a function of socioeconomic and topographic factors and project future rates of development and forestland loss to 2020. We conclude by discussing how best to meet the land use data needs of researchers, forestry policymakers, and managers.

Keywords: Landsat; forestland development; land use change; wildland-urban interface

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-10-01

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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