Contribution of Rural Land Use to Floristic Diversity: A Multi-Scale Study of Organic Farms and Subdivisions in the Southern Appalachians

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephanie Laura Smith (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/
Advisor
Gabrielle Katz

Abstract: In the rural countryside of the Southern Appalachians, a trend of land-use change from agriculture to exurban development continues to alter the landscape at multiple spatial scales. This research seeks to answer how such land-use trends alter species richness, habitat structure and landscape patterns of the Southern Appalachians. By combining GIS analysis with field data collection, this study specifically addresses the following questions: (1) What are the overall patterns of habitat composition and spatial structure of the landscapes surrounding farms and subdivisions? (2) What are the patterns of habitat composition and spatial structure of agricultural and subdivided sites? (3) How do farms and low-density residential development maintain or differ from the broader landscape in habitat composition and spatial structure. (4) How do farms and low-density residential development compare in terms of floristic biodiversity? Using ArcGIS® I mapped and classified various habitat patches (forest, field, shrub, riparian, built and crop) within four farms and four subdivisions and documented plant species composition, cover, and structure in two 100m2 plots within each habitat patch at all sites. Results from this study revealed that as land-use changes from agriculture to exurban development, habitats become more fragmented and complex, especially within forest areas.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Smith, S.L. (2010). Contribution of Rural Land Use to Floristic Diversity: A Multi-Scale Study of Organic Farms and Subdivisions in the Southern Appalachians. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Biogeography, Rural Land Use, Floristic Diversity, Southern Appalachians, Land-Use Change