Vancouver Island is a land mass that has undergone much forest management and other human disturbances, and provides an excellent opportunity to understand trends in land cover changes.
SGRC Lead Researcher: Dr. Rob D’Eon
Collaborator: Dr. Sarah Gergel, UBC Forest Sciences
Landscape metrics and pattern analysis is an important way of deriving information on broad-scale land cover patterns and trends. Of particular importance are changes in land cover types that result as a consequence of human disturbances such as forest management. Vancouver Island is a land mass that has undergone much forest management and other human disturbances, and provides an excellent opportunity to understand trends in land cover changes.
Using Landsat-based imagery from the Earth Observation for Sustainable Development of Forests project, a composite land cover image of Vancouver Island was used for landscape pattern analyses. The image provides a 30m x 30m pixel resolution for a variety of land cover types such as coniferous and deciduous forest, wetlands, early seral shrub communities, alpine, and other classes across the ecological spectrum. Landscape boundaries were are defined using the British Columbia watershed atlas watershed boundaries. By merging these two datasets, approximately 6,000 watershed-based landscapes containing land cover information provide the basis for comparative landscape pattern analyses. A large suite of landscape pattern indices were then calculated for each landscape using FRAGSTATS, a landscape metrics software program. Data provided by FRAGSTATS has been used in a large comparative analysis to determine land cover trends and changes across Vancouver Island, ultimately furthering our understanding of the effects of human disturbance on broad-scale land cover patterns.