Perpetua: The UAH Journal of Undergraduate Research


College of Science


Atmospheric Science


Alabama is one of the most biodiverse states in the United States, including the greatest diversity of aquatic species. As urbanization continues to increase in Alabama, this biodiversity is at risk. NASA DEVELOP partnered with the Land Trust of North Alabama to identify sensitive habitats that are at risk from urbanization within Madison and Limestone counties. The Land Trust of North Alabama works to preserve land, primarily in Madison and Limestone counties, and encourages stewardship through environmental education. The team conducted a supervised classification of land class type, utilizing data from Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Version 4 (SRTM) to identify land cover changes and areas most vulnerable to future urbanization. By incorporating land classification analysis and additional parameters indicative of urbanization, the team produced an urbanization prediction tool and a landscape fragmentation map. The urban prediction tool identified land highly suitable for development and found that 25% of highly suitable land will be urbanized by 2045 using the measured 0.87% growth rate. Ecological impact was established using observation data for species of interest to the project partners. These tools will enable the Land Trust to target high risk areas of land for preservation.



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