New Jersey's landscape is constantly changing. While landscape change can be a natural process related to environmental disturbances such as wildfire, storms, and rising sea levels, human-induced landscape change related to urban/suburban development is now the single most significant factor influencing the state of land. As the most densely populated state in the nation, New Jersey has long struggled with balancing new development to house a growing population with maintaining environmental quality. Some of the most significant negative impacts of urban growth are loss of fertile agricultural lands, loss of wetlands, loss and fragmentation of forests and wildlife habitat, increase in impervious surface with subsequent impacts on water quality and loss of aesthetic quality to the landscape. Human-induced landscape change is not just a New Jersey concern but a global phenomenon. Understanding the driving factors, quantifying the trends, and mapping the key hotspots of landscape change along with identifying the thresholds of environmental impact, are all central to an informed response on the part of government and the citizenry alike. My goal with this project is similarly to inform the public and government agencies about land use change issues and the overall state of NJ's landscape. More specifically, I propose to update and add to the long term time series of land use/land cover data, as well as analyze the implications of the change data set for the state of New Jersey. The data and information generated by this project will aid the NJAES in fulfilling its mission "To enhance the vitality, health, sustainability and overall quality of life in New Jersey by developing and delivering practical, effective solutions to current and future challenges to agriculture; fisheries; food; natural resources; environments; public health; and economic, community, and youth development."
Agriculture; Automobile Driving; Communities; Data; Data Set; Development; Economics; Environment; Environmental Impact; Equilibrium; Esthetics; Fisheries; Food; forest; Future; Goals; Government; Government Agencies; Growth; Habitats; Health; Housing; Human; land cover; land use; Maps; Mission; Natural Resources; New Jersey; Population; Process; programs; Quality of life; Research; response; Sea; Series; Solutions; suburb; Surface; Time; trend; Update; water quality; Wildfire; Youth