Date of Award
Master of Natural Resources (MNR)
James N. Long
Human activities have significantly altered forest conditions throughout Eastern Washington, United States, particularly in the wildland-urban interface where small acreage private landowners control a significant share of remaining forests. Focusing on Spokane County as a case study, this project used Geographic Information Systems, remotely sensed data, and property ownership information to estimate forest cover, identify private forest landowners in the wildland-urban interface, and measure vegetation changes between 1991 and 2011. Simplified reclassification of land cover yielded an estimated 315,268 acres (127,584 hectares) of forest in the county, approximately 28% of total land area. Forty-seven percent of forested land (149,236 acres - 60,393 hectares) is owned by 21,045 small forest landowners (defined here as individuals owning 2-180 acres). Change detection analysis using multi-temporal Landsat imagery measured slight increases in mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (+1.2 points) and mean Normalized Burn Ratio (+5.2 points). Visual comparison with aerial imagery suggested significant increases (>20 points) corresponded with forest growth or regeneration, while significant decreases (>20 points) corresponded with development or forest removal.
Turnblom, Kevin W., "Private Forests in the Wildland-Urban Interface: Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Identify Management Challenges in Eastern Washington, United States" (2015). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 488.
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