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 Phillip Rollfing  

$113,000 research deal with National Park Service

LAUP profs to develop early warning system for land use changes around national parks



Five Texas A&M professors are developing an early warning system to detect land use changes outside of national park boundaries along the U.S. Gulf Coast as part of a $113,000 cooperative agreement with the National Park Service.

Chris Ellis, Sam Brody, Forster Ndubisi, Walt Peacock and Doug Wunneberger, all from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, will be involved in the project. They are developing a system to compile publicly available information about changes in land use. In turn, the data will be provided to park staff in an updatable format that is geographically linked and easy to use. This will be accomplished by continually mapping permits pertaining to properties adjacent to the park for park managers.

The intent is to give park managers the information needed to plan accordingly for upcoming changes in land use near the park.

According to the research proposal, one of the highest priority management concerns for parks in this region is changing land use outside of the parks’ boundaries and the potential impacts of those changes on the parks’ natural resources. Increased development around the parks can contribute to the increased presence of non-native invasive species, contribute to fragmentation of habitats, alter water and air quality, impact viewscapes and soundscapes, increase litter and debris within the park, and increase visitor impacts. Although it is possible to track historical changes in land use though remote sensing, such an approach does not provide an early warning for park managers to be able to react to those changes before, or as they are occurring.



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