Linking Land Use, Land Cover, and Land Ownership at the Parcel Scale in the Midwest United States

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"Land ownership institutions play an important role in how land-use decisions translate to land cover. This research addresses three tightly linked but independent research questions to better understand the relationships between land use, land cover, and land ownership in the Midwest United States. The first research objective is to describe how ownership parcels split during the period of 1928 to 1997. A spatial database of ownership parcels was developed for six time points for two townships in Indiana. A method for describing the spatiotemporal pattern was then developed using spatial metrics to describe parent and child parcels for each parcelization event during the time period. Using a transition matrix approach, the research finds that there are common patterns of parcelization. The notion of a land-use portfolio is used to address the relationship between land use and land cover. Landowners were interviewed and asked to draw maps of the land use on their parcel. These maps were then digitized and incorporated with land-cover data derived from aerial photography in a GIS. The correspondence of land use and land cover was then assessed quantitatively. The general finding is that a more complex land- management portfolio does lead to more land-cover fragmentation but not equally across portfolio types. To address property-rights arrangements outside of a one household-to-one parcel scenario, the notion of intentional communities is used to describe scenarios where multiple people own land in common. Data were first collected on how communities legally own their land and then examined for differences in land-cover patterns between land ownership types. Results suggest that type of land ownership may be a useful way to categorize communities but does not explain much of the variance in terms of land-cover patterns."



land tenure and use, ownership