|Title||Ecological Connectivity Assessment and Urban Dimensions: A Case of Phoenix Metropolitan Landscape|
This study addresses the landscape connectivity pattern at two different scales. The county-level analysis aims to understand how urban ecosystem structure is likely to evolve in response to the proposed development plans in Maricopa County, Arizona. To identify the spatio-temporal land pattern change, six key landscape metrics were quantified in relative to the urban development scenarios based on the certainty of the proposed urban plans with different level of urban footprints. The effects of future development plans from municipalities on landscape connectivity were then analyzed in the scaled temporal and spatial frame to identify in which urban condition the connectivity value would most likely to decrease. The results demonstrated that tremendous amount of lands will be dedicated to future urbanization, and especially urban agricultural lands will be likely to be vulnerable. The metro-level analysis focuses on a group of species that represent urban desert landscape and have different degrees of fragmentation sensitivity and habitat type requirement. It hypothesizes that the urban habitat patch connectivity is impacted upon by urban density. Two underlying propositions were set: first, lower connectivity is predominant in areas with high urbanization coverï¼› second, landscape connectivity will be impacted largely on the interfaces between urban, suburban, and rural areas. To test this, a GIS-based connectivity modeling was employed. The resultant change in connectivity values was examined for exploring the spatial relation to predefined spatial frames, such as urban, suburban, and rural zones of which boundaries were delineated by buffering method with two criteria of human population density and urban cover proportion. The study outcomes provide a practical guidance to minimize connectivity loss and degradation by informing planners with more optimal alternatives among various policy decisions and implementation. It also gives an inspiration for ecological landscape planning in urbanized or urbanizing regions which can ultimately leads urban landscape sustainability.
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