Satellite Monitoring of Urban Sprawl and Assessment of its Potential Environmental Impact in the Greater Toronto Area Between 1985 and 2005
2012 (English)In: Environmental Management, ISSN 0364-152X, E-ISSN 1432-1009, Vol. 50, no 6, 1068-1088 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This research investigates urban sprawl in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) between 1985 and 2005 and the nature of the resulting landscape fragmentation, particularly with regard to the Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM), an ecologically important area for the region. Six scenes of Landsat TM imagery were acquired in summer of 1985, 1995, and 2005. These images and their texture measures were classified into eight land cover classes with very satisfactory final overall accuracies (93-95 %). Analysis of the classifications indicated that urban areas grew by 20 % between 1985 and 1995 and by 15 % between 1995 and 2005. Landscape fragmentation due to spatio-temporal land cover changes was evaluated using urban compactness indicators and landscape metrics, and results from the latter were used to draw conclusions about probable environmental impact. The indicator results showed that urban proportions increased in nearly all areas outside of the metropolitan center, including on portions of the ORM. The landscape metrics reveal that low density urban areas increased significantly in the GTA between 1985 and 2005, mainly at the expense of agricultural land. The metric results indicate increased vulnerability and exposure to adverse effects for natural and semi-natural land cover through greater contrast and lowered connectivity. The degree of urban perimeter increased around most environmentally significant areas in the region. Changes like these negatively impact species and the regional water supply in the GTA. Further investigation into specific environmental impacts of urban expansion in the region and which areas on the ORM are most at risk is recommended.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 50, no 6, 1068-1088 p.
Landsat TM, Landscape metrics, Urban compactness indicators, Oak Ridges Moraine, Environmentally significant areas
Remote Sensing Environmental Management
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-87840DOI: 10.1007/s00267-012-9944-0ISI: 000311292800009ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84871321192OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-87840DiVA: diva2:501934
FunderSwedish Research CouncilFormas
QC 201212192012-02-142012-02-142014-12-12Bibliographically approved