Guiding SLEUTH land-use/land-cover change modeling using multicriteria evaluation: towards dynamic sustainable land-use planning
Upgrading the SLEUTH urban-growth and land-use-change model, realizing its full capability in modeling change simultaneously in land-use and land-cover types, and using it as a self-organizing dynamic land-use planning tool have been the three main objectives of this study. In doing so, SLEUTH was applied to design a better plan for future and assess two scenarios concerning land-use and land-cover changes in Gorgan Township of the Golestan Province of Iran. Four land-use and land-cover maps were derived from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus imagery through a hybrid method including unsupervised, supervised, and on-screen classification for four years. To provide a more desirable forecast of future land-use and land-cover changes, SLEUTH’s exclusion layer was combined with an urbanization-suitability layer from a multicriteria evaluation (MCE) using fifteen map layers that most influence land suitability for urban development. The layers used in the MCE process were related to landform, vegetation, soil and geology, and surrogate socioeconomic factors; hence, they portrayed the desirability of the urban growth. SLEUTH was used for forecasting with both this new and a standard exclusion layer. Using the new layer, the fragmentation of the future land-use pattern was controlled and urban development along roads was restrained, thereby safeguarding the remaining urban green space and remnant rural vegetation patches. The results were also compared with a separate site selection process for future urban development showing the desirability of MCE-guided SLEUTH modeling over original SLEUTH and the standalone urban MCE in terms of landform, surrogate socioeconomic factors, and landscape metrics such as patch size, shape, and proximity and fractal dimension. As SLEUTH derives change rules simultaneously for different land-use and land-cover types in a self-modifying self-organizing manner, we showed the approach can be regarded as a tool for dynamic land-use planning. Keywords: SLEUTH, Gorgan, multicriteria evaluation, urbanization, land-use planning, sustainable land use
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