Leah Parker

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Earth System Science

Committee Chair

Robert Griffin

Committee Member

Walter L. Ellenburg

Committee Member

Thomas Sever


Geographic information systems., Nature conservation--Alabama--Madison County., Nature conservation--Alabama--Limestone County., Riparian areas.


As urban development continues to spread from urban centers, natural riparian corridors and their ecosystem services are becoming at risk. This study utilized the Riparian Buffer Delineation Model, the National Land Cover Database, and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to evaluate and summarize historical land cover changes and vegetation health within variable-width riparian corridors between 2001 and 2016 in Madison County and Limestone County of North Alabama. The TerrSet Land Change Modeler was used to predict the risk of urban development by 2030 based on historical land cover trends and driver variables. The predicted future risk of urban development was combined with additional criteria within a multi-criteria decision analysis to prioritize conservation potential in riparian corridors. Results from this study provide the Land Trust of North Alabama with locations of high priority riparian corridors to conserve before development can occur.



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