Analysis of landscape changes as an indicator for environmental monitoring


ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, vol.189, no.1, 2017 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 189 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10661-016-5748-7
  • Keywords: Landscape change, Environmental indicator, Change detection, Landscape pattern, Environmental processes, GIS, LAND-COVER CHANGES, LEVEL, URBANIZATION, PATTERN, DYNAMICS, BINARY, REGION, BASIN


Mediterranean coastal landscapes are complex systems that are subject to rapid and extensive changes due to unprecedented human interference. Changes in these landscapes are strong indications of anthropogenic disturbances that should be monitored carefully in order to make effective management decisions. Landscape changes can be analyzed using many qualitative and quantitative techniques. In this respect, the importance of land cover information arises from the fact that any change in the composition and/or configuration of land cover can be used as a landscape-level environmental indicator. Therefore, proper understanding of spatial and temporal characteristics of this environmental attribute is of vital importance as it enables decision-makers to reveal causes of environmental issues and to cope with consequences of mismanagement. The aims of this paper are to analyze landscape-level changes using the largest patch index (LPI) as a simple pattern indicator and provide guidelines for studying change phenomena that take place in the Mediterranean coastal areas. In this respect, changes in the LPI values for agricultural and built-up areas in three different sites were analyzed using georeferenced Ikonos and Quickbird images. The concepts of pattern and process were highlighted as important indicators for studying landscapes and understanding their change.