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River Landscapes and Land Use: Investigating Patterns and Relationships in Wales

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Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Author: Heenan, Tom William
Date: 2009
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/5142
Sector: Forestry
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Europe
Subject(s): research
GIS
rivers
conservation
land tenure and use
forests
woodlands
habitats
Abstract: "Policy is beginning to encourage the reversal of fragmentation of the British landscape, and there are many studies now looking at how best to connect habitat, and woodland habitat in particular. Rivers are believed to be important natural linkages in the landscape, and some studies highlight their current contribution to connectivity in Wales. Understanding the patterns of land use between and within rivers can help contribute to plans to increase connectivity, and help understand the implications of such plans. "This study utilised GIS data and software to examine land use patterns in Welsh river catchments, with reference to the longitudinal river slope (patterns between rivers) and the position within the river catchment (patterns within rivers). The cover of different land-uses was calculated from habitat data, and slope was calculated from elevation data. "The cover of 'semi-natural woodland', 'settlement' and 'agriculture' were all found to have a negative relationship to river slope. The reverse was found for 'plantation and felled woodland' and 'other semi-natural habitats' (which included grassland, heath and bog). Within-river, the patterns were much stronger but differed greatly between rivers. To better understand the processes occurring in the Welsh landscape future studies should look to additional landscape characteristics and to look further within rivers. Scale may also be important, as it is predicted that the size of the area examined around a river will have an effect on the relationship found, but it was outside the scope of this study to investigate such effects."

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