Matching Items (39)

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Bursera microphylla in South Mountain Municipal Park: evaluating its habitat characteristics

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ABSTRACT The elephant tree, Bursera microphylla, is at the northern limit of its range in central Arizona. This species is sensitive to frost damage thus limiting its occurrence in more northern areas of the southwest. Marginal populations of B. microphylla

ABSTRACT The elephant tree, Bursera microphylla, is at the northern limit of its range in central Arizona. This species is sensitive to frost damage thus limiting its occurrence in more northern areas of the southwest. Marginal populations of B. microphylla are found in mountain ranges of Central Arizona and are known to occur in the rugged mountain range system of the South Mountain Municipal Park (SMMP). Little is known of the distribution of this species within the park and details relevant to the health of both individual plants and the population such as diameter and number of trunks, height, and presence of damage have not been examined. This study was designed, in part, to test the hypothesis that favorable microhabitats at SMMP are created by particular combinations of abiotic features including aspect, slope, elevation and solar radiation. Data on abiotic factors, as well as specific individual plant locations and characteristics were obtained for 100 individuals. Temperature data was collected in vertical transects at different altitudinal levels. Some of these data were used in spatial analyses to generate a habitat suitability model using GIS software. Furthermore, collected data was analyzed using Matlab© software to identify potential trends in the variation of morphological traits. In addition, for comparative purposes similar information at one hundred computer-generated randomly chosen points throughout SMMP was obtained. The GIS spatial analyses indicated that aspect, slope, elevation, and relative solar radiance are strongly associated as major climatic components of the microhabitat of B. microphylla. Temperature data demonstrated that there are significant differences in ambient temperature among different altitudinal gradients with middle elevations being more favorable. Furthermore, analyses performed using Matlab© to explore trends of elevation as a factor indicated that multiple trunk plants are more commonly found at higher elevations than single trunk plants, there is a positive correlation of trunk diameter with elevation, and that canopy volume has a negative correlation with respect to elevation. It was concluded that microhabitats where B. microphylla occurs at the northern limit of its range require a particular combination of abiotic features that can be easily altered by climatic changes.

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Date Created
2011

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A spatial decision support system for optimizing the environmental rehabilitation of borderlands

Description

The border policies of the United States and Mexico that have evolved over the previous decades have pushed illegal immigration and drug smuggling to remote and often public lands. Valuable natural resources and tourist sites suffer an inordinate level of

The border policies of the United States and Mexico that have evolved over the previous decades have pushed illegal immigration and drug smuggling to remote and often public lands. Valuable natural resources and tourist sites suffer an inordinate level of environmental impacts as a result of activities, from new roads and trash to cut fence lines and abandoned vehicles. Public land managers struggle to characterize impacts and plan for effective landscape level rehabilitation projects that are the most cost effective and environmentally beneficial for a region given resource limitations. A decision support tool is developed to facilitate public land management: Borderlands Environmental Rehabilitation Spatial Decision Support System (BERSDSS). The utility of the system is demonstrated using a case study of the Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona.

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Date Created
2013

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Food deserts, food hubs, and farmers markets in Arizona: an analysis of proximity and potential for increasing food access

Description

Food deserts are defined as regions with low average income, low accessibility to grocery stores, and high adverse health outcomes. Food deserts have thus become an important area of public health research, and many actions are being taken across the

Food deserts are defined as regions with low average income, low accessibility to grocery stores, and high adverse health outcomes. Food deserts have thus become an important area of public health research, and many actions are being taken across the country to "solve" the variety of problems food deserts represent. Despite the many solutions promoted to improve food security, healthy food access, and health outcomes among individuals living in food desert areas, not all activities have been critically assessed for their potential for sustained impact. Further, little research has been conducted in the state of Arizona regarding food-related ‘assets’ available to employ in solutions to food desert problems. This analysis gives a glimpse into the complex nature of food deserts, which are impacted by a variety of factors, from economics to public policy to culture. It further provides a current assessment of available assets for potential use in ameliorating the negative impacts of food deserts on Arizona citizens. A graphical asset mapping analysis offers specific consideration of farmers markets and food hubs to possibly aid food deserts in the state.

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2015

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Statistical evaluation and GIS model development to predict and classify habitat quality for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher

Description

The Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) has been studied for over two decades and listed as endangered for most of that time. Though the flycatcher has been granted protected status since 1995, critical habitat designation for the flycatcher has

The Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) has been studied for over two decades and listed as endangered for most of that time. Though the flycatcher has been granted protected status since 1995, critical habitat designation for the flycatcher has not shared the same history. Critical habitat designation is essential for achieving the long-term goals defined in the flycatcher recovery plan where emphasis is on both the protection of this species and "the habitats supporting these flycatchers [that] must be protected from threats and loss" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2002). I used a long-term data set of habitat characteristics collected at three study areas along the Lower Colorado River to develop a method for quantifying habitat quality for flycatcher. The data set contained flycatcher nest observations (use) and habitat availability (random location) from 2003-2010 that I statistically analyzed for flycatcher selection preferences. Using both Pearson's Chi-square test and SPSS Principal Component Analysis (PCA) I determined that flycatchers were selecting 30 habitat traits significantly different among an initial list of 127 habitat characteristics. Using PCA, I calculated a weighted value of influence for each significant trait per study area and used those values to develop a habitat classification system to build predictive models for flycatcher habitat quality. I used ArcGIS® Model Builder to develop three habitat suitability models for each of the habitat types occurring in western riparian systems, native, mixed exotic and exotic dominated that are frequented by breeding flycatchers. I designed a fourth model, Topock Marsh, to test model accuracy on habitat quality for flycatchers using reserved accuracy assessment points of previous nest locations. The results of the fourth model accurately predicted a decline in habitat at Topock Marsh that was confirmed by SWCA survey reports released in 2011 and 2012 documenting a significant decline in flycatcher productivity in the Topock Marsh study area.

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Date Created
2013

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The centralization index as a measure of local spatial segregation

Description

Decades ago in the U.S., clear lines delineated which neighborhoods were acceptable for certain people and which were not. Techniques such as steering and biased mortgage practices continue to perpetuate a segregated outcome for many residents. In contrast, ethnic enclaves

Decades ago in the U.S., clear lines delineated which neighborhoods were acceptable for certain people and which were not. Techniques such as steering and biased mortgage practices continue to perpetuate a segregated outcome for many residents. In contrast, ethnic enclaves and age restricted communities are viewed as voluntary segregation based on cultural and social amenities. This diversity surrounding the causes of segregation are not just region-wide characteristics, but can vary within a region. Local segregation analysis aims to uncover this local variation, and hence open the door to policy solutions not visible at the global scale. The centralization index, originally introduced as a global measure of segregation focused on spatial concentration of two population groups relative a region's urban center, has lost relevancy in recent decades as regions have become polycentric, and the index's magnitude is sensitive to the particular point chosen as the center. These attributes, which make it a poor global measure, are leveraged here to repurpose the index as a local measure. The index's ability to differentiate minority from majority segregation, and its focus on a particular location within a region make it an ideal local segregation index. Based on the local centralization index for two groups, a local multigroup variation is defined, and a local space-time redistribution index is presented capturing change in concentration of a single population group over two time periods. Permutation based inference approaches are used to test the statistical significance of measured index values. Applications to the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area show persistent cores of black and white segregation over the years 1990, 2000 and 2010, and a trend of white segregated neighborhoods increasing at a faster rate than black. An analysis of the Phoenix area's recently opened light rail system shows that its 28 stations are located in areas of significant white, black and Hispanic segregation, and there is a clear concentration of renters over owners around most stations. There is little indication of statistically significant change in segregation or population concentration around the stations, indicating a lack of near term impact of light rail on the region's overall demographics.

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Date Created
2012

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West Nile virus in Maricopa County, Arizona: investigating human, vector, and environmental interactions

Description

Despite the arid climate of Maricopa County, Arizona, vector-borne diseases have presented significant health challenges to the residents and public health professionals of Maricopa County in the past, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Currently, West

Despite the arid climate of Maricopa County, Arizona, vector-borne diseases have presented significant health challenges to the residents and public health professionals of Maricopa County in the past, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Currently, West Nile virus is the only mosquitoes-transmitted disease actively, and natively, transmitted throughout the state of Arizona. In an effort to gain a more complete understanding of the transmission dynamics of West Nile virus this thesis examines human, vector, and environment interactions as they exist within Maricopa County. Through ethnographic and geographic information systems research methods this thesis identifies 1) the individual factors that influence residents' knowledge and behaviors regarding mosquitoes, 2) the individual and regional factors that influence residents' knowledge of mosquito ecology and the spatial distribution of local mosquito populations, and 3) the environmental, demographic, and socioeconomic factors that influence mosquito abundance within Maricopa County. By identifying the factors that influence human-vector and vector-environment interactions, the results of this thesis may influence current and future educational and mosquito control efforts throughout Maricopa County.

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Date Created
2013

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Spatial growth of informal settlements in Delhi: an application of remote sensing

Description

Slum development and growth is quite popular in developing countries. Many studies have been done on what social and economic factors are the drivers in establishment of informal settlements at a single cross-section of time, however limited work has been

Slum development and growth is quite popular in developing countries. Many studies have been done on what social and economic factors are the drivers in establishment of informal settlements at a single cross-section of time, however limited work has been done in studying their spatial growth patterns over time. This study attempts to study a sample of 30 informal settlements that exist in the National Capital Territory of India over a period of 40 years and identify relationships between the spatial growth rates and relevant factors identified in previous socio-economic studies of slums using advanced statistical methods. One of the key contributions of this paper is indicating the usefulness of satellite imagery or remote sensing data in spatial-longitudinal studies. This research utilizes readily available LANDSAT images to recognize the decadal spatial growth from 1970 to 2000, and also in extension, calculate the BI (transformed NDVI) as a proxy for the intensity of development for the settlements. A series of regression models were run after processing the data, and the levels of significance were then studied and compared to see which relationships indicated the highest levels of significance. It was observed that the change in BI had a higher strength of relationships with the change in independent variables than the settlement area growth. Also, logarithmic and cubic models showed the highest R-Square values than any other tested models.

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Date Created
2011

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Developing a cohesive space-time information framework for analyzing movement trajectories in real and simulated environments

Description

In today's world, unprecedented amounts of data of individual mobile objects have become more available due to advances in location aware technologies and services. Studying the spatio-temporal patterns, processes, and behavior of mobile objects is an important issue for extracting

In today's world, unprecedented amounts of data of individual mobile objects have become more available due to advances in location aware technologies and services. Studying the spatio-temporal patterns, processes, and behavior of mobile objects is an important issue for extracting useful information and knowledge about mobile phenomena. Potential applications across a wide range of fields include urban and transportation planning, Location-Based Services, and logistics. This research is designed to contribute to the existing state-of-the-art in tracking and modeling mobile objects, specifically targeting three challenges in investigating spatio-temporal patterns and processes; 1) a lack of space-time analysis tools; 2) a lack of studies about empirical data analysis and context awareness of mobile objects; and 3) a lack of studies about how to evaluate and test agent-based models of complex mobile phenomena. Three studies are proposed to investigate these challenges; the first study develops an integrated data analysis toolkit for exploration of spatio-temporal patterns and processes of mobile objects; the second study investigates two movement behaviors, 1) theoretical random walks and 2) human movements in urban space collected by GPS; and, the third study contributes to the research challenge of evaluating the form and fit of Agent-Based Models of human movement in urban space. The main contribution of this work is the conceptualization and implementation of a Geographic Knowledge Discovery approach for extracting high-level knowledge from low-level datasets about mobile objects. This allows better understanding of space-time patterns and processes of mobile objects by revealing their complex movement behaviors, interactions, and collective behaviors. In detail, this research proposes a novel analytical framework that integrates time geography, trajectory data mining, and 3D volume visualization. In addition, a toolkit that utilizes the framework is developed and used for investigating theoretical and empirical datasets about mobile objects. The results showed that the framework and the toolkit demonstrate a great capability to identify and visualize clusters of various movement behaviors in space and time.

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Date Created
2011

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Understanding open spaces in an arid city

Description

This doctoral dissertation research aims to develop a comprehensive definition of urban open spaces and to determine the extent of environmental, social and economic impacts of open spaces on cities and the people living there. The approach I take to

This doctoral dissertation research aims to develop a comprehensive definition of urban open spaces and to determine the extent of environmental, social and economic impacts of open spaces on cities and the people living there. The approach I take to define urban open space is to apply fuzzy set theory to conceptualize the physical characteristics of open spaces. In addition, a 'W-green index' is developed to quantify the scope of greenness in urban open spaces. Finally, I characterize the environmental impact of open spaces' greenness on the surface temperature, explore the social benefits through observing recreation and relaxation, and identify the relationship between housing price and open space be creating a hedonic model on nearby housing to quantify the economic impact. Fuzzy open space mapping helps to investigate the landscape characteristics of existing-recognized open spaces as well as other areas that can serve as open spaces. Research findings indicated that two fuzzy open space values are effective to the variability in different land-use types and between arid and humid cities. W-Green index quantifies the greenness for various types of open spaces. Most parks in Tempe, Arizona are grass-dominant with higher W-Green index, while natural landscapes are shrub-dominant with lower index. W-Green index has the advantage to explain vegetation composition and structural characteristics in open spaces. The outputs of comprehensive analyses show that the different qualities and types of open spaces, including size, greenness, equipment (facility), and surrounding areas, have different patterns in the reduction of surface temperature and the number of physical activities. The variance in housing prices through the distance to park was, however, not clear in this research. This dissertation project provides better insight into how to describe, plan, and prioritize the functions and types of urban open spaces need for sustainable living. This project builds a comprehensive framework for analyzing urban open spaces in an arid city. This dissertation helps expand the view for urban environment and play a key role in establishing a strategy and finding decision-makings.

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Date Created
2011

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Reconstruction of a tornado disaster employing remote sensing techniques: a case study of the 1999 Moore, Oklahoma tornado

Description

Remote sensing has demonstrated to be an instrumental tool in monitoring land changes as a result of anthropogenic change or natural disasters. Most disaster studies have focused on large-scale events with few analyzing small-scale disasters such as tornadoes. These studies

Remote sensing has demonstrated to be an instrumental tool in monitoring land changes as a result of anthropogenic change or natural disasters. Most disaster studies have focused on large-scale events with few analyzing small-scale disasters such as tornadoes. These studies have only provided a damage assessment perspective with the continued need to assess reconstruction. This study attempts to fill that void by examining recovery from the 1999 Moore, Oklahoma Tornado utilizing Landsat TM and ETM+ imagery. Recovery was assessed for 2000, 2001 and 2002 using spectral enhancements (vegetative and urban indices and a combination of the two), a recovery index and different statistical thresholds. Classification accuracy assessments were performed to determine the precision of recovery and select the best results. This analysis proved that medium resolution imagery could be used in conjunction with geospatial techniques to capture recovery. The new indices, Shortwave Infrared Index (SWIRI) and Coupled Vegetation and Urban Index (CVUI), developed for disaster management, were the most effective at discerning reconstruction using the 1.5 standard deviation threshold. Recovery rates for F-scale damages revealed that the most incredibly damaged areas associated with an F5 rating were the slowest to recover, while the lesser damaged areas associated with F1-F3 ratings were the quickest to rebuild. These findings were consistent for 2000, 2001 and 2002 also exposing that complete recovery was never attained in any of the F-scale damage zones by 2002. This study illustrates the significance the biophysical impact has on recovery as well as the effectiveness of using medium resolution imagery such as Landsat in future research.

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Date Created
2011