Geospatial Analysis of Select Ecosystem Services provided by the Protected Lands of The Land Trust for Central North Carolina

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2013-04-24

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The Land Trust for Central North Carolina is a non-profit organization that works to protect and preserve land – natural areas, rural landscapes, family farms, and historic places within North Carolina’s heartland. For this client, we were tasked with performing an ecosystem service analysis to determine the benefits that The LandTrust’s properties offer to humans. Of the many ecosystem services these properties generate for human benefit, we examined water quality, carbon storage, and recreation using geospatial data available from the USGS, the US Census Bureau, and NC OneMap to demonstrate the value of land protection. To aid in future conservation decisions, we also determined land use change and forest type change in The Land Trusts’ counties of operation on non-protected lands. Through geospatial analysis, we were able to quantify these select ecosystem services, which will aid in making these abstract ecosystem services more tangible. Our non-monetary quantification of 3 ecosystem services from already protected lands will help The LandTrust describe the benefits of land for a range of different interest groups. With our land use and forest changes results, The Land Trust can further focus conservation efforts on areas that are likely to be impacted from development and land use change. This ecosystem service analysis also lays a framework for future ecosystem service studies, such as those that examine other ecosystem services or that involve economic valuation of ecosystem services.

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Montgomery, Alison, and Di Zhu (2013). Geospatial Analysis of Select Ecosystem Services provided by the Protected Lands of The Land Trust for Central North Carolina. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6788.


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