Assessing Land Use and Riparian Buffers Along Maine's Presumpscot Watershed Using Landsat Thematic Mapper

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Northeastern Geographer


land use, Maine, Presumpscot River, remote sensing, riparian buffers


This study assesses land use within Maine's Presumpscot river watershed using a land-change science framework. This framework calls for monitoring dynamic landscapes shaped by coupled human and natural processes so as to understand their causes and consequences. Industrial uses of the river since early European settlement activity significantly altered its hydrology and ecosystem characteristics. Moreover, recent population growth in this, the fastest growing, region of Maine has put significant development pressures on land adjoining the river. Landsat Thematic Mapper data are used to analyze the configuration of land use classes for the watershed and a buffer analysis is conducted to document dominant land use activities within zones of the river. The results indicate a fragmentation of green space along the river due to agriculture and development activities, and the buffer analysis points to an inverse relationship between the proportion of green space and distance from river. While the findings are not unexpected, they raise important concerns for the future health of the Presumpscot ecosystem from pollution and the expansion of development.


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