Future Land-Use Land-Cover Scenarios for the Flint River Watershed in Northern Alabama Using the Prescott Spatial Growth Model


A changing mosaic of natural vegetation and human land uses has evolved within and around the Flint River Watershed (FRW) in Alabama and Tennessee over the past several decades. To determine the cause of change and linkage between human activities and environmental change can prove problematic. Subsequently, there is a need to produce projections of future environments based on planning instruments and socio-economic parameters. Scenarios of potential future land use land cover (LULC) change are required in order to better manage potential impacts on many environmental issues. This study creates future scenarios for the year 2030 from baseline land use of 2001, relative to three projected land use scenarios which include differences related to conservation, planning, and development. The future growth scenarios were created using the ArcGIS tool, Prescott Spatial Growth Model (PSGM). The model allows users to build different future growth scenarios based on socio-economic projections such as population, employment and other controlling factors. The simulation results indicate that LULC changes associated with future urbanization can increase by ~23% - 43% within the FRW, which will lead to significant environmental issues if not managed properly. The overall analysis and model results demonstrate the ability of future growth scenarios to explore and evaluate options for a future environment. Spatial modeling and analysis tools, such as PSGM, provide a powerful approach to evaluate potential impacts of LULC change in the future and should be used to manage urbanization in areas with more intense development.

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Tadesse, W. , Whitaker, S. , Crosson, W. and Wilson, C. (2015) Future Land-Use Land-Cover Scenarios for the Flint River Watershed in Northern Alabama Using the Prescott Spatial Growth Model. Journal of Geographic Information System, 7, 319-327. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2015.74025.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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