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Explosive population growth and increasing demand for rural homes and lifestyles fueled exurbanization and urbanization in the western USA over the past decades. Using National Land Cover Data we analyzed land fragmentation trends in five southwestern cities associated with Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites and observed two general fragmentation trends: expansion of the urbanized area leading to fragmentation in the exurban and peri-urban regions and decreased fragmentation associated with infill in the previously developed urban areas. Our work highlights the importance of understanding land use decision-making drivers in concert and throughout time, as historic decisions leave legacies on landscapes that continue to affect land form and function, a process often forgotten in a region and era of blinding change.



Funding is from a 2008 Social Science Supplement from NSF. The other four sites in the study, SEV, JRN, SGS, KNZ, contributed funds from their supplements to fund a post-doc for the project.

RA and summer funding 2009-2010


June 2008 — Ongoing