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Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

A Fuzzy Set Approach To Classification of Land Cover Pattern

EPA Grant Number: U915360
Title: A Fuzzy Set Approach To Classification of Land Cover Pattern
Investigators: Harrington, Thomas
Institution: Boston University
EPA Project Officer: Boddie, Georgette
Project Period: July 1, 1998 through December 1, 2000
Project Amount: $77,064
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998)
Research Category: Fellowship - Geography , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Academic Fellowships



The objective of this research project is to develop and demonstrate a framework for environmental monitoring of landscape-scale, landcover spatial patterns using fuzzy set theory.


The present approach combines cluster analysis, discriminant analysis, and fuzzy sets to create a multivariate classification of landscapes by land cover pattern. First, I quantify land cover pattern for a set of landscapes using various pattern indicators. Second, I use cluster analysis to group the landscapes by these pattern variables. Third, I use discriminant analysis to determine which indicator variables are significant for distinguishing among landscape groups. Fourth, I use fuzzy set methods to redefine the hard or crisp boundaries between groups based on general knowledge of pattern-ecology relationships. The result is a classification of landscapes by their degree of membership in different landscape-pattern groups. The way that the degree of membership of landscapes in pattern groups changes through time or between landscapes provides a framework for environmental monitoring. The utility of this framework is demonstrated in a study of an industrial forest landscape in Maine.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, spatial patterns, fuzzy set theory, cluster analysis, discriminant analysis., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, State, Forestry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology and Ecosystems, Ecological Indicators, ecosystem assessment, forest ecosystems, coniferous hardwood forest, forest land cover, ecosystem management, ecosystem, forests, sustainable forestry, landscape patterns, Maine (ME), industrial forest

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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