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Land 2016, 5(4), 44; doi:10.3390/land5040044

Prediction of Land Use Change in Long Island Sound Watersheds Using Nighttime Light Data

1
Department of Geography, University of Connecticut, 215 Glenbrook Rd., Storrs, CT 06269, USA
2
Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of Connecticut, 3107 Horsebarn Hill Rd., U-4210, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrew Millington
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 22 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 December 2016 / Published: 7 December 2016
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Abstract

The Long Island Sound Watersheds (LISW) are experiencing significant land use/cover change (LUCC), which affects the environment and ecosystems in the watersheds through water pollution, carbon emissions, and loss of wildlife. LUCC modeling is an important approach to understanding what has happened in the landscape and what may change in the future. Moreover, prospective modeling can provide sustainable and efficient decision support for land planning and environmental management. This paper modeled the LUCCs between 1996, 2001 and 2006 in the LISW in the New England region, which experienced an increase in developed area and a decrease of forest. The low-density development pattern played an important role in the loss of forest and the expansion of urban areas. The key driving forces were distance to developed areas, distance to roads, and social-economic drivers, such as nighttime light intensity and population density. In addition, this paper compared and evaluated two integrated LUCC models—the logistic regression–Markov chain model and the multi-layer perception–Markov chain (MLP–MC) model. Both models achieved high accuracy in prediction, but the MLP–MC model performed slightly better. Finally, a land use map for 2026 was predicted by using the MLP–MC model, and it indicates the continued loss of forest and increase of developed area. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use/cover change; Long Island Sound Watersheds; nighttime lights; logistic regression; multi-layer perception; Markov chain land use/cover change; Long Island Sound Watersheds; nighttime lights; logistic regression; multi-layer perception; Markov chain
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhai, R.; Zhang, C.; Li, W.; Boyer, M.A.; Hanink, D. Prediction of Land Use Change in Long Island Sound Watersheds Using Nighttime Light Data. Land 2016, 5, 44.

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