Quantifying landscape pattern and connectivity in a Mediterranean coastal settlement: the case of the Urla district, Turkey
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This study was aimed at analyzing and interpreting changes in landscape pattern and connectivity in the Urla district, Turkey using core landscape metrics based on a 42-year data derived from 1963 CORONA and 2005 ASTER satellite images and ten 1/25,000 topographical maps (1963–2005). The district represents a distinctive example of re-emerged suburbanization in the Izmir metropolitan area. In order to explore landscape characteristics of the study area, nine landscape composition and configuration metrics were chosen as follows: class area, percentage of landscape, number of patches, patch density, largest patch index, landscape shape index, mean patch size, perimeter area fractal dimension, and connectance index. The landscape configurations in the Urla district changed significantly by 2005 in that the process of (sub-)urbanization in the study area evolved from a rural, monocentric urban typology to a more suburban, polycentric morphology. Agricultural, maquis-phrygana, and forest areas decreased, while the built-up, olive plantation and phrygana areas increased. There was nearly a fivefold increase in the built-up areas during the study period, and the connectivity of the natural landscape declined. To prevent further fragmentation, it is important to keep the existing natural land cover types and agricultural areas intact. More importantly, a sustainable development scenario is required that contains a green infrastructure, or an ecological network planning for conservation and rehabilitation of the vital natural resources in the study area.
KeywordsLandscape metrics Landscape pattern Landscape connectivity Urla Turkey
The author expresses her gratitude to Dr. Şerif Hepcan, Mr. Phil Rousculp, Miss Samantha Chundur, and Dr. Fatih Evrendilek and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.
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