Thesis Title

Spatiotemporal Patterns of Transitional Landscapes in the Southwest Missouri Ozarks

Date of Graduation

Spring 2006


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

L. Monika Moskal


Springfield, Missouri's surrounding communities have experienced population increases that greatly impact the landscape's ecological systems and processes. These changes are primarily products of the shift of land use practices and an alteration of land cover to accommodate an expanding population and associated construction of housing developments, shopping centers, and other urban infrastructure. The neighboring cities of Nixa and Ozark, in Christian County, lie within this area of urban sprawl. These transitional landscapes were monitored from 1979 to 2004 with remote sensing and geographic information systems to evaluate the changes in landscape pattern. This was accomplished though supervised classification using feature extraction of panchromatic, true color, and color infrared aerial photographs into land use/land cover maps, following with an accuracy analysis of the classifications. The transitional landscape patterns changes were then quantified with landscape metrics. A spatiotemporal metrics table plotting time against land use within the study area explains the scenario of patterns occurring to landscape. The study showed that urban sprawl began between 1979 and 1990, with the largest decline in total forest area for all intervals and the largest amount of fragmentation within the forest class occurring within this time period. The background matrix yielded the most area to impervious growth between 1990 and 2003, when the largest population increase occured and the average area of impervious patches grew substantially, while the number of patches remained relatively stable. 2004 saw a decline in the number of patches and an increase in average patch area, suggesting that urban sprawl would evolve to only a few large, interconnected patches.


remote sensing, geographic information systems, land use, landscape change, landscape metrics

Subject Categories

Botany | Landscape Architecture


© Teri E. Hunsinger