Christopher Carlson ACF Abstract FY10

Modeling Land Use and Land Cover Change in Michigan from 1996 to 2050

Conference Name: Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters (MASAL)

This study analyzes land cover change in Michigan with a focus on Grand Rapids using land cover data acquired from the NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program (CCAP).  Previous research suggests a worldwide trend towards urbanization in the past 50 years putting natural habitat and agricultural lands at risk due to population growth on the city fringe.  Data from 1996, 2001, and 2006 were reclassified and cross-tabulated using the Land Change Modeler Extension in Idrisi.  The results of the cross-tabulation were used to create a transition potential map and modeled to predict land cover in the year 2050.  The results show large areas of habitat were converted to low density development from 1996 to 2001 and the model predicted a loss of nearly 10,000 hectares by 2050.  The construction of the M-6 highway from 2001 to 2006 resulted in conversion of suburban areas into roads which is classified as being urban.  Results show that natural areas near Grand Rapids are threatened by fragmentation due to sprawl but agricultural areas currently face a minimal threat.  More research is needed to examine patterns of land use change around the Detroit area and along the lakeshore.