Changes in human development and land use patterns: Assessment of the wildland-urban interface patterns in four selected midwest states

Authors: KWADWO DWOMOH*, South Dakota State University
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Urban and Regional Planning, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Wildland-urban interface, housing growth,population growth,Minnesota,South Dakota,Iowa,Nebraska
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download

The Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) refers to areas where human development and wildland vegetation interact, and it is associated with many environmental problems, especially wildfire. Despite the importance of the spatio-temporal information on the WUI to sustainable urban development, there is a general lack of this information in most mid-west states. Using a new WUI dataset from the US Forest Service Research Data Archive, this study assessed recent changes in WUI from 1990 to 2010 across four selected mid-west states: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Further analysis explored socio-economic factors, including population and housing trends, that were associated with the observed changes in WUI. Similar analysis was performed at the county level for the state of South Dakota to provide a detailed analysis at the local level. Within the study period, the percentage increase in WUI was highest in South Dakota (49%), followed by Minnesota and Iowa (34%) followed by Nebraska (18%). Though South Dakota has the least population among the four states, it was somewhat surprising that this state exhibited the highest WUI expansion rate. Results of this study show that these midwest states are gradually moving towards increased WUI. As a result, there is an urgent need to critically examine development planning in these areas in order to prevent WUI-related environmental hazards such as wildfire that are prevalent in WUI dominated states.

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