Land use/land cover trends in 28 reservoirs of the Brazos River: a preliminary analysis using NLCD data (2001-2011)



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Human activity and natural processes impact land cover, or physical land types such as grasslands, shrubs, wetlands, forests, crops, and other types of land located on the earth’s surface. Changes in land cover, therefore, are changes in the biotic nature or physical landscape of a region. The term “land use” has been defined as alterations in land cover caused by human activities. This study was conducted on the watersheds of major reservoirs of the Brazos River Basin in Texas to determine the changes that occurred in land use and land cover between 2001-2011 by using geographical information system (GIS) to afford important maps and visualized data for each lake watershed in the Brazos River Basin. This information will provide a clear representation of land use/land cover condition during these time periods. To calculate land use and land cover extent and annual rate of change, the equation “count * 0.222395” was used, where 0.222395 refers to the area in acres for each pixel. In addition to the previous equation, the annual rate of change in acres was calculated using “R= (A1 -A2)/(t2-t1) ” (Fearnside, 1993). The results of this study emphasized that there were noticeable changes in land cover and land use during the decade between 2001 and 2011. In just ten years, land cover and land uses associated with the drainage areas have shown a trend towards urbanization and agricultural expansion, while the forested land was greatly diminished across the region. Changes in grassland/pasture and shrub-lands, however, varied in the different regions; while some areas saw an increase, others saw decrease, and so, it is difficult to assign a pattern in these changes. Wetland areas changed only slightly where there was any change at all. Our findings can provide important information for land policies concerning the Brazos River Basin.



Land Use, Land Cover Trends, Brazos River