Anthropogenic land-use activities can affect regional biophysical processes and functioning of neighboring land areas impacting the human and natural communities found in these areas. Karst landforms add complexity to land-use management. The term "karst" describes predominately limestone and dolostone landforms weathered primarily through a chemical dissolution process. Over geologic time, karst features including sinkholes, bedrock springs and fractures, sinking streams and caves form on and under the land surface. Studies that further our understanding of land cover and land use, especially in sensitive land areas can inform and improve land management and policy development for those areas. Through three projects, this thesis examined land and land-use characteristics in a regional karst landscape. Physical spring characteristics were analyzed to determine whether a subset of spring characteristics can discriminate springs into bedrock units or aquifer units. A subset of characteristics was found that discriminated the springs into both bedrock units and aquifer units. Springs had a clumped distribution on the landscape with most springs found at low elevations. For the second project, land pattern metrics were examined for a county-delineated land area and compared with pattern metrics in the major watershed overlying that county area. Differences between patterns of variation in metrics for the watershed versus the county area including greater fragmentation in the county landscape, fewer components of variation in the watershed and greater importance of land cover diversity in the watershed. For the last project, local municipal protection of regional natural resource processes was examined by determining the extent of local policy coverage on landscape functions and ecosystem services. Current coverage and gaps were identified. Policy changes directed at incorporating landscape functions into land-use planning were presented. This research provides new information about spring characteristics, land pattern metrics, and policy coverage of natural resources and ecosystem services, contributing to the accumulation of knowledge of land use and land cover characteristics, especially for karst regions, including that found in southeast Minnesota.
University of MInnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2009. Major: Conservation Biology. Advisor: Susy S. Ziegler. 1 computer file (PDF); xv, 198 pages, appendices I-IV. Ill. maps.
Williams, Mary Alice.
Land cover characteristics in the Karst regon of southeastern Minnesota..
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