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“Plowed, Paved, or in Succession”: Land-cover Change on the North Carolina Piedmont


Henderson, Bonnie M. & Walsh, Stephen J. (1995). "Plowed, Paved, or in Succession": Land-cover Change on the North Carolina Piedmont. Southeastern Geographer, 35(2), 132-49.


The landscape of the North Carolina piedmont is a patchy mosaic of forests, fields, farmland, and urban areas that reflects past and present land-use patterns. This study uses historical aerial photographs and spatial analysis to examine land-cover change in Orange County, North Carolina, between the years 1938, 1955, 1972, and 1982. Changes detected included a decrease in agricultural land and an increase in fragmentation; an increase in coniferous forest; an increase in deciduous forest and greater connectivity between patches; and an increase in urban area. The overall amount of edge declined, while the amount of farmland/forest edge grew. Fractal dimension decreased for the urban class. Indices of landscape pattern indicate that the study area became more diversified, less dominated by one or a few cover types, and less clustered – i.e., more fragmented – over the study period. Agricultural decline, secondary succession, and growing urbanization contributed to these changes, producing ecological consequences and policy implications.


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Journal Article

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Southeastern Geographer


Henderson, Bonnie M.
Walsh, Stephen J.

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