Zoning and Fragmentation of Agricultural and Forest Land Use on Residential Parcels in Monroe County, Indiana

  • Cynthia Croissant Indiana University
  • Darla Munroe Indiana University
Keywords: Urban Sprawl, Landscape Fragmentation, Land Use/Land Cover, GIS and Remote Sensing, Zoning


Urban growth and development in smaller cities or peri-urban communities is an increasingly important component of land-use change in the United States. One concern is that urban or residential growth will lead to increased fragmentation of other land uses such as forest or agriculture. Landscape fragmentation is important from both ecological and socioeconomic perspectives. In countries such as the United States the primary means of controlling landscape fragmentation are land use planning and zoning ordinances. Zoning is a way for local government officials to manage land use and attempt to guide the future land use into a configuration that is seen as desirable. The effectiveness of most planning and zoning in achieving the desired goals and landscape configurations remains unclear. This research addresses the following question: how effective is zoning within Monroe County, Indiana, in regulating fragmentation when considered at a meaningful socioeconomic landscape unit (i.e. the parcel)? Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to integrate spatially explicit socioeconomic data and a land use/land cover map created from a classified remotely sensed image of Monroe County, Indiana, we examine the impact of zoning-related policy on fragmentation of forest and agricultural land use/land covers on primarily residential parcels. We find that the degree of slope and parcel size affect fragmentation of agricultural, forest, and developed land use/land cover as expected, but that zoning is more significant.


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