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
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.