Analysis and Prediction of Land Use Changes Related to Invasive Species and Major Driving Forces in the State of Connecticut
Land use and land cover (LULC) patterns play an important role in the establishment and spread of invasive plants. Understanding LULC changes is useful for early detection and management of land-use change to reduce the spread of invasive species. The primary objective of this study is to analyze and predict LULC changes in Connecticut. LULC maps for 1996, 2001 and 2006 were selected to analyze past land cover changes, and then potential LULC distribution in 2018 was predicted using the
... d using the Multi-Layer Perceptron Markov Chain (MLP_MC) model. This study shows that the total area of forest has been decreasing, mainly caused by urban development and other human activity in Connecticut. The model predicts that the study area will lose 5535 ha of deciduous forest and gain 3502 ha of built-up area from 2006 to 2018. Moreover, forests near built-up areas and agriculture lands appear to be more vulnerable to conversion. Changes in LULC may result in subtle spatial shifts in invasion risk by an abundant invasive shrub, Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii). The gain of developed areas at the landscape scale was most closely linked to increased future invasion risk. Our findings suggest that the forest conversion needs to be controlled and well managed to help mitigate future invasion risk. Keywords: land use and land cover change; multi-layer perceptron; Markov chain Land 2016, 5, 25; doi:10.3390/land5030025 www.mdpi.com/journal/land Land 2016, 5, 25 6 of 22 were calculated for different years. DTR was measured as the shortest Euclidian distance from each pixel to the nearest road, and other distances were calculated similarly. These variables were often used in land-use change models. Population has positive or negative relationships with LULC change, which has been proved in many studies [28, 47] . Population maps of 1996Population maps of , 2001Population maps of , and 2006 were obtained from the U.