Geospatial Analysis of Forest Fragmentation and Connectivity in Virginia
Fynn, Iris Ekua Mensimah
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This research evaluated the extent to which forests in Virginia have either become fragmented (disconnected) and/or connected over a ten year time period. The study analyzed the accuracy of forest fragmentation analysis depending on the spatial resolution of the satellite imagery used. This analysis highlights the importance of using appropriate satellite images for forest fragmentation analysis. Secondly, this research focused on building a model to identify the significance of factors such as slope, physiographic region and forest types on Virginia's populations of Wood Thrush and Ovenbird. This assessment identified the difference in effects of variables on bird populations depending on the scale at which the analysis is carried out. Third and final analysis combined the first two assessments to determine how management policies can be used to mitigate negative effects of forest fragmentation and protect biodiversity. The research results highlight increasing forest fragmentation trends in Virginia between 2001 and 2011 and the negative impacts of this trend on Wood Thrush and Ovenbird species. The results also demonstrate the effectiveness of riparian buffers as corridors.
- Doctoral Dissertations