Landscape Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 275–291 | Cite as

Quantifying spatial–temporal change in land-cover and carbon storage among exurban residential parcels

  • Qingxu Huang
  • Derek T. Robinson
  • Dawn C. Parker
Research Article

Abstract

The area of land occupied by exurban residential development is significant and has been increasing over the past several decades in the United States. Considerable attention has been drawn to the measurement of regional-scale patterns of land-cover change and assessment of its environmental and socioeconomic consequences. Yet little is known about the quantity of land-cover change within individual exurban residential parcels, which reflect homeowner preferences, land-management strategies, and the ecosystem services they generate. Similarly, little is known about the spatial autocorrelation of land cover among parcels and how it may change over time. Using a dataset delineating land-cover change within exurban residential parcels in southeastern Michigan from 1960 to 2000, the quantity and composition of land cover and carbon storage are examined. The spatial similarity of land-cover quantity among neighboring parcels is evaluated using local indicators of spatial association. Results show, among other findings, that (1) the number of exurban residential parcels, the quantity of tree cover, and amount of carbon storage increased steadily from 1960 to 2000; (2) the distribution of parcel sizes remained relatively constant and dominated by small parcels; (3) an increasing proportion of parcels were significantly similar to their neighbors; and (4) using a benefits transfer approach, new exurban parcels are estimated to store ~15,000–29,000 kg C over the study period. The measured changes in land cover and carbon storage improve our understanding of how ecosystem services may change in human-dominated landscapes and provide evidence that policy opportunities are available to increase carbon management.

Keywords

Spatial heterogeneity Land-cover change Spatial autocorrelation Exurban parcel Ecosystem services Carbon storage 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qingxu Huang
    • 1
  • Derek T. Robinson
    • 2
  • Dawn C. Parker
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource EcologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of EnvironmentUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.School of Planning, Faculty of EnvironmentUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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