A comparative evaluation was performed using descriptors of landscape and land cover patterns as to how they relate to varying levels of anthropogenic disturbance and the structure of biotic communities. A spatial analysis program (a modified version of SPAN) was used to compute measures of land cover diversity, dominance, contagion, scaled dominance and contagion, fractal dimension of land cover patches, mean forest-wetland patch size, amount of forest edge, clustering of selected forest types, and the largest cover patches within two 100-km2 watersheds of the Ridge and Valley province of central Pennsylvania. Landscape pattern analysis was conducted on a subwatershed basis, emphasizing different levels of residential-agricultural versus forest land cover, the major difference between the two watersheds. Bird and vascular plant guilds were chosen to represent the overall biotic community. The general descriptors of diversity, contagion, mean forest-wetland patch size, proportion of forest cover, and the amount of forest edge were most effective in reflecting the disturbance levels within the watersheds and changes in guild composition for both birds and plants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Nature and Landscape Conservation