Population and Environment

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 429–468 | Cite as

Residential expansion as a continental threat to U.S. coastal ecosystems

  • J. G. Bartlett
  • D. M. Mageean
  • R. J. O'Connor


Spatially extensive analysis of satellite, climate, and census data reveals human-environment interactions of regional or continental concern in the United States. A grid-based principal components analysis of Bureau of Census variables revealed two independent demographic phenomena, α-settlement reflecting traditional human settlement patterns and β-settlement describing relative population growth correlated with recent construction in non-agricultural areas, notably in coastal, desert, and “recreational” counties and around expanding metropolitan areas. Regression tree analysis showed that β-settlement was differentially associated with five distinct combinations of seasonality, summer heat or cool, intensity of agriculture, and extent of “barren” land. Beta-settlement was greatest in coastal and desert areas, and coincided with national concentrations of threatened and endangered species.


Land Cover Barren Land Landscape Metrics Barrier Island Regression Tree Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, J. C., & Barnes, D. F. (1985). The causes of deforestation in developing countries.Annals of the Association of American Geographers 75, 163–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, T. F. H. & Starr, T. B. (1982)Hierarchy: perspectives for ecological complexity. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, T. F. H., & Hoekstra, T. W. (1992).Toward a unified ecology, New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, J. R., Hardy, E. E., Roach, J. T., & Witmer, R. E. (1976). A land use and land cover classification system for use with remote sensor data.U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 964, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  5. ARC/INFO Version 7.0.4. (1996). Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc., Redlands, CA.Google Scholar
  6. Bayfield, N. (1979). Some effects of trampling onMolophilus ater (Meiger) (Diptera, Tipulidae).Biological Conservation 16, 219–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blackith, R. E., & Reyment, R. A. (1971).Multivariate morphometrics. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  8. Boorman, L. A. & Fuller, R. M. (1977). Studies on the impact of paths on dune vegetation at Winterton, Norfolk, England.Biological Conservation 12, 203–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Breiman, L., Friedman, J. H., Olshen, R. A. & Stone, C. J. (1984).Classification and regression trees. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  10. CIESIN-SEDAC (1995). United States Census block-level data files for population density/km2 and house density/km2. Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network—Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center. (URL: Scholar
  11. Clark, J. (1996).Coastal zone management handbook. New York, NY: Lewis Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Clark, J. R. (Ed.). (1976).Barrier islands and beaches. Washington, DC: The Conservation Foundation.Google Scholar
  13. Clark, L. A., & Pregibon, D. (1992). Tree-based models. In J. M. Chambers & T. J. Hastie (Eds.).Statistical models in S. Pacific Grove, CA: Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole Advanced Books & Software.Google Scholar
  14. Clark, W. C., Richards, J., & Flint, E. (1986). Human transformations of the earth's vegetation cover: past and future impacts of agricultural development and climatic change. In C. Rosenzweig & R. Dickinson (Eds.).Climatic-vegetation interactions. Proceedings of a Workshop, January 1986, pp. 27–29. Greenbelt, MD: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.Google Scholar
  15. Commoner, B. (1972). The environmental cost of economic growth. In R. G. Ridker (Ed.).Population, resources, and the environment, pp. 339–363. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  16. Costanza, R., Wainger, L., Folke, C., & Maler, K. G. (1993). Modeling complex ecological and economic systems: Towards an evolutionary, dynamic undersanding of people and nature.Bioscience 43, 545–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Culliton, T. J., Warren, M. A., Goodspeed, T. R., Remer, D. G., Blackwell, C. M., & McDonough, III, J. J. (1990).50 years of population change along the nation's coasts 1960–2010. Second Report of a Coastal Trends Series. Rockville, MD: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Google Scholar
  18. Culliton, T. J., McDonough III, J. J., Remer, D. G., & Lott, D. M. (1992).Building along America's coasts, 20 years of building permits, 1970–1989. Coastal Trends Series. Rockville, MD: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Google Scholar
  19. Danko, D. M. (1992). The digital chart of the world.GeoInfo Systems 2, 29–36.Google Scholar
  20. Davis, K., & Bernstam, M. S. (Eds.). (1991).Resources, environment, and population: Present knowledge and future options. Population and Development Review: Suppl. to Vol. 16. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Dean, R. G. (1988). Review of dredging effects on adjacent park systems. National Park Service Technical Document UFL/COEL-88/015.Google Scholar
  22. De Vita, C. J. (1996). The United States at Mid-Decade.Population Bulletin, 50, 1–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dobson, A. P., Rodriguez, J. P., Roberts, W. M., & Wilcove, D. S. (1997). Geographic distribution of endangered species in the United States.Science 275, 550–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dolan, R., Godfrey, P. J. & Odum, W. E. (1973). Man's impact on the barrier islands of North Carolina: A case study of the implications of large-scale manipulation of the natural environment.American Scientist 61, 152–162.Google Scholar
  25. Dolan, R., Anders, F., & Kimball, S. (1985).National atlas of the USA—Coastal erosion and accretion. Reston, VA: US Geological Survey.Google Scholar
  26. Duncan, O. D. (1964). From social system to ecosystem.Sociological Inquiry 31: 140–149.Google Scholar
  27. Ehrlich, P. R., & Holdren, J. P. (1971). Impact of population growth.Science 171, 1212–1217.Google Scholar
  28. Farley, R. (1996).The New American Reality. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  29. Forman, R. T. T., & Godron, M. (1986).Landscape ecology, New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  30. Frey, W. H. (1995). The new geography of population shifts. InState of the Union: America in the 1990s, Vol. 2: Local Trends, pp. 271–336. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  31. Fuguitt, G. V., & Beale, C. L. (1996). Recent trends in nonmetropolitan migration: Toward a new turnaround?Growth and Change 27(2), 156–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fuguitt, G. V., & Brown, D. L. (1990). Residential preferences and population redistribution, 1972–1988.Demography 27(4), 589–600.Google Scholar
  33. Garreau, J. (1991). Edge city: Life on the new frontier.American Demographics 13, 24–31.Google Scholar
  34. Garreau, J. (1994). Edge cities in profile.American Demographics 16, 24–33.Google Scholar
  35. Geoghegan, J., Pritchard Jr., L., Oleva-Himmelberger, Y., Chowdhury, R. R., Sanderson, S., & Turner II, B. L. (1998). “Socializing the Pixel” and “Pixelizing the Social” in land-use and land-cover change. In D. Liverman, E. F. Moran, R. R. Rindfuss, & P. C. Stern (Eds.).People and Pixels: Linking remote sensing and social science, pp. 51–69. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  36. Godfrey, P., & Leatherman, S. (1979). The islands—general description. InAlternative policies for protecting barrier islands along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States and draft environmental statement, pp. 57–60. Washington, DC: Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, USDOI.Google Scholar
  37. Grover, H. D., & Musick, H. B. (1990). Shrubland encroachment in southern New Mexico, U.S.A.: An analysis of desertification processes in the American southwest.Climate Change 17, 305–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. HCN—Historical Climatology Network. (1996).Monthly precipitation and temperature data. US Department of Energy-Oak Ridge National Laboratory and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Climatic Data Center, Oak Ridge, TN. (URL: Scholar
  39. Hinrichsen, D. (1998).Coastal Waters of the World: Trends, threats, and strategies, Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  40. Houghton, R. A. (1994). The worldwide extent of land use change.Bioscience 44, 305–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hunsaker, C. T., O'Neill, R. V., Timmins, S. P., Jackson, B. L., Levine, D. A., & Norton, D. J. (1994). Sampling to characterize landscape pattern.Landscape Ecology 9, 207–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hylgaard, T., & Liddle, M. J. (1981). The effect of human trampling on a sand dune ecosystem dominated byEmpetrum nigrum.Journal of Applied Ecology 18, 559–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. IGBP. (1990).The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme: A study of global change. The initial core projects. Stockholm, Sweden: International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme Report No. 12.Google Scholar
  44. Jolly, C. L. (1994). Four theories of population change and the environment.Population and Environment 16(1), 61–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kates, R. W. (1998). Expanding our directions.Land Use and Land Cover Change Newsletter (Special Issue: The Earth's Changing Land Conference, Number 3, March 1998. Barcelona, Spain, Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya).Google Scholar
  46. Kiester, A. R., White, D., Preston, E. M., Master, L. L., Loveland, T. R., Bradford, D. F., Csuti, B. A., O'Connor, R. J., Davis, F. W., & Stoms, D. M. (1993).Research plan for pilot studies of the Biodiversity Research Consortium. Corvallis, OR: USEPA Unpublished Report.Google Scholar
  47. Liddle, M. J., & Greig-Smith, P. (1975a). A survey of tracks and paths in a sand dune ecosystem, II. Vegetation.Journal of Applied Ecology 12, 909–930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Liddle, M. J., & Greig-Smith, P. (1975b). A survey of tracks and paths in a sand dune ecosystem, I. Soils.Journal of Applied Ecology 12, 893–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lins, H. F. (1980).Patterns and trends of land use and land cover on Atlantic and Gulf Coast barrier islands. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1156. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  50. Longley, J. W. (1967). An appraisal of least squares programs for the electronic computer from the point of view of the user.Journal of the American Statistical Association 62, 819–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Loveland, T. R., Merchant, J. W., Ohlen, D. J., & Brown, J. F. (1991). Development of a landcover characteristics database for the conterminous U.S..Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 57, 1453–1463.Google Scholar
  52. Machlis, G. E., & Forester, D. J. (1996). The relationship between socio-economic factors and biodiversity loss: First efforts at theoretical and quantitative models. In R. Szaro & D.W. Johnson (Eds.).Biodiversity in managed landscapes: theory and practice, pp. 121–146. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Mageean, D. M., & Bartlett, J. G. (1998). Putting people on the map: integrating social science data with environmental data. Pecora 13 Proceedings:Human interactions with the environment—perspectives from space. Sioux Falls, SD, August 20–22, 1996. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. CD-ROM, 1 disk.Google Scholar
  54. Mageean, D. M., & Bartlett, J. G. (1999). Using population data to address the problems of human dimensions of environmental change. In S. Morain (Ed.).GIS in natural resource management: Balancing the technical-political equation, pp. 193–205. Santa Fe, NM: High Mountain Press.Google Scholar
  55. Marsh, G. P. (1965).Man and nature; or, the Earth as modified by human action (original 1864). Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  56. McAtte, J. W., & D. L. Drawe (1981). Human impact on beach and foredune microclimate on North Padre Island, Texas.Environmental Management 5, 121–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. McKibben, B. (1998). A special moment in history.Atlantic Monthly 281(5), 55–78.Google Scholar
  58. Meyer, W. B., & Turner II, B. L. (1992). Human population growth and global land-use/cover change.Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 23, 39–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Miller, T. W. (1994). Model selection in tree-structured regression.Proceedings of the Statistical Computing Section, American Statistical Association, pp. 158–163.Google Scholar
  60. Myers, N. (1991).Population, resources and the environment: The critical challenges. New York, NY: United Nations Fund for Population Activities.Google Scholar
  61. Nelson, A. C., & Dueker, K. J. (1990). The exurbanization of America and its planning policy implications.Journal of Planning Education and Research 9(2), 91–100.Google Scholar
  62. NOAA (1998).Population and development in coastal areas—coastal population and building permit data. Office of Ocean Resources Conservation and Assessment—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (URL: Scholar
  63. O'Connor, R. J., Jones, M. T., White, D., Hunsaker, C., Loveland, T., Jones, B., & Preston, E. (1996). Spatial partitioning of environmental correlates of avian biodiversity in the conterminous United States.Biodiversity Letters 3, 97–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. O'Connor, T. P., & Ehler, C. N. (1991). Results from the NOAA National Status and Trends Program on distributions and effects of chemical contamination in the coastal and estuarine United States.Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 17, 33–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. O'Neill, R.V., Gardner, R. H., Milne, B. T., Turner, M. G., & Jackson, B. (1991). Heterogeneity and spatial hierarchies. In J. Kolasa & S. T. A. Pickett (Eds.).Ecological Heterogeneity, pp. 85–96. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  66. O'Neill, R. V., Hunsaker, C. T., Jones, K. B., Riitters, K. H., Wickham, J. D., Schwartz, P. M., Goodman, I. A., Jackson, B. L., & Baillargeon, W. S. (1997). Monitoring environmental quality at the landscape scale: using landscape indicators to assess biotic diversity, watershed integrity, and landscape stability.Bioscience 47, 513–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Orians, C. E. & Skumanich, M. (1997).The population-environment connection: What does it mean for environmental policy? Seattle, WA: Battelle Seattle Research Center.Google Scholar
  68. Population Resource Center. (1992).Meeting the policy challenge: Moving from conflict to collaboration on the population-environment nexus. Princeton, NJ: Population Resource Center.Google Scholar
  69. Quinlan, F. T., Karl, T. R., & Williams, Jr., C. N. (1987).United States Historical Climatology Network (HCN) serial temperature and precipitation data. NDP019. Oak Ridge, TN: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. Oak Ridge National Laboratory.Google Scholar
  70. Ricketts, T., Dinerstein, E., Olson, D. M., Loucks, C., Eichbaum, W. M., Kavanagh, K., Hedao, P., Hurley, P., Carney, K., Abell, R., & Walters, S. (1997).A conservation assessment of the terrestrial ecoregions of the United States and Canada. Draft Report. Washington, DC World Wildlife Fund-US, World Wildlife Fund-Canada.Google Scholar
  71. S-PLUS Version 3.3. (1995). StatSci, a division of MathSoft, Inc., Seattle, WA.Google Scholar
  72. Salati, E. & P. B. Vose. (1984). Amazon Basin: A system in equilibrium.Science 225, 129–138.Google Scholar
  73. Schlesinger, W. H., Reynolds, J. F., Cunningham, G. L., Huenneke, L. F., Jarrell, W. M., Virginia, R. A., & Whitford, W. G. (1990). Biological feedbacks in global desertification.Science 247, 1043–1048.Google Scholar
  74. Shafik, N. (1994).Economic development and environmental quality: Patterns of change. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  75. Sonquist, J. A., Baker, E. L., & Morgan, J. N. (1973).Searching for structure. Revised Edition. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research. University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  76. Sterrer, W. (1993). Human economics: A non-human perspective.Ecological Economics 7, 183–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Stycos, J. M. (1993).Population and environment: The role of demographic data and projections. Ithaca, NY: Population and Development Program, Cornell University (1991-6/93 Working Paper Series 93.18).Google Scholar
  78. Terborgh, J. (1989).Where have all the birds gone?: Essays on the biology and conservation of birds that migrate to the American tropics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Turner II, B. L., Skole, D., Sanderson, S., Fischer, G., Fresco, L., & Leemans, R. (1995).Land-use and land-cover change science/research plan. IGBP Report No. 35, HDP Report No.7Google Scholar
  80. US Bureau of Census. (1990a).Census of Population and Housing. Summary tape file—3C. United States Department of Commerce.Google Scholar
  81. US Bureau of Census. (1990b).Census of Population and Housing. Summary tape file—1A. United States Department of Commerce.Google Scholar
  82. US Bureau of Census. (1990c).Census of Population and Housing. Population and housing characteristics for Census Tracts and Block Numbering Areas. United States Department of Commerce—Economics and Statistics Administration.Google Scholar
  83. US Bureau of Census. (1992).Nonmetro counties by dominant type of economic activity. United States Department of Commerce—Economics and Statistics Administration.Google Scholar
  84. US Bureau of Census. (1995).TIGER ® Map Service Ver. 2.5 (TIGER/Line '94 data set). United States Department of Commerce. (URL: Scholar
  85. US Bureau of Census. (1998a).Estimates of the population of counties for July 1, 1997, and population change: April 1, 1990 to July 1, 1997. Population Estimates Program—Population Division, United States Department of Commerce.Google Scholar
  86. US Bureau of Census. (1998b).Census and You (monthly newsletter from the US Bureau of the Census). 33(1):1, December 1997/January 1998.Google Scholar
  87. US Bureau of Census. (1998c).Census and You (monthly newsletter from the US Bureau of the Census). 33(2):5, February/March 1998.Google Scholar
  88. USDA (1996).America's private land, a geography of hope. United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. December 1996, Program Aid 1548.Google Scholar
  89. USDOI (1979).Alternative policies for protecting barrier islands along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States and draft environmental statement. Washington, DC: Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. United States Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  90. USDOI (1982).Undeveloped coastal barriers—report to Congress. Washington, DC: United States Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  91. USDOI (1983).Final environmental statement—undeveloped coastal barriers. Coastal Barriers Task Force. Washington, DC: United States Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  92. USDOI (1985).Coastal Barrier Resources System—Draft Report to Congress. Coastal Barrier Study Group, Washington, DC: United States Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  93. USDOI (1987).Coastal Barrier Resources System, executive summary—Draft Report to Congress. Washington, DC: Coastal Barrier Study Group, United States Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  94. USDOI (1988).Report to Congress-Coastal Barrier Resources System—Vols.: 7 (New Jersey), 8 (Delaware), 11 (North Carolina), 14 (Florida-East Coast), and 15 (Florida-West Coast). Recommendations for additions to or deletions from the Coastal Barrier Resources System. Washington, DC: Coastal Barriers Study Group, United States Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  95. USEPA (1997).Endangered species protection program database. Office of Pesticide Programs, United States Environmental Protection Agency. (URL: Scholar
  96. Venables, W. N., & Ripley, B. D. (1994).Modern applied statistics with S-PLUS. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  97. WCED. (1987).Our common future. New York, NY: World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  98. Walker, H. (1990). The coastal zone. In B. L. Turner II, W. C. Clark, R. W. Kates, J. F. Richards, J. T. Mathews, & W. B. Meyer (Eds.),The earth as transformed by human action: Global and regional changes in the biosphere over the past 300 years, pp. 271–294. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  99. Wear, D. N., & Bolstad, P. (1998). Land-use changes in Southern Appalachian landscapes: Spatial analysis and forecast evaluation.Ecosystems 1, 575–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Whitby, M.C. (Ed.). (1992).Land use change: The causes and consequences. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  101. White, D., Kimmerling, J., & Overton, W. S. (1992). Cartographic and geometric components of a global design for environmental monitoring.Cartography and Geographic Information Systems 19, 5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. White, D., Minotti, P. G., Barczak, M. J., Sifneos, J. C., Freemark, K. E., Santelmann, M. V., Steinitz, C. F., Kiester, A. R., & Preston, E. R. (1996). Assessing risks to biodiversity from future landscape change.Conservation Biology 11, 349–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Wickham, J. D., Wu, J., & Bradford, D. F. (1997). A conceptual framework for selecting and analyzing stressor data to study species richness at large spatial scales.Environmental Management 21(2), 247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Witham, J. W., & Hunter Jr., M. L. (1992). Population trends of Neotropical migrant landbirds in northern coastal New England. In J. M. Hagan III and D. W. Johnston (Eds.).Ecology and Conservation of Neotropical Migrant Landbirds, pp. 85–95. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G. Bartlett
    • 1
  • D. M. Mageean
    • 1
  • R. J. O'Connor
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MaineUSA

Personalised recommendations