Southern Miami-Dade County serves as a critical buffer zone located between two national parks. In this project, we examine the process of rapid suburbanization as agricultural lands transition to residential development. Strategies to slow suburbanization at local and regional scales include growth management policies and zoning regulations. In particular, zoning ordinances serve the primary method for lessening and preventing the conversion of agricultural and forested lands-though zoning has also been implicated in increased landscape fragmentation. To understand the effectiveness of zoning in protecting rural lands, FCE researchers are using recently acquired high-resolution GeoEye imagery to quantify green vegetation, classify prevailing land use/covers (including lawns) and derive indices of landscape structure for the study site. These recent data capture present-day land cover (April 2009), and will be additionally linked to historical data for previous years (2004 CIR digital orthophotographs, 3-band digital orthophotographs, historical aerial photography). For broader area coverage we will investigate cross-platform data merging, dasymmetric mapping and change detection using Landsat TM imagery. To facilitate cross-LTER site comparisons, moreover, FCE researchers are collaborating with other LTER sites (BES, PIE and CAP) to employ common approaches to cover characterization. These initiatives employ object-oriented methodologies (within a Definiens software environment) linked with ancillary GIS data for image segmentation, rule development and classification in an iterative approach.
The study area (with current and 2004 data coverage grid), a target land cover classification scheme and preliminary classification are exemplified below:
FCE-Human dimensions Study Area
Target classification Scheme
Preliminary classification objects