Urbanization was associated with loss and transformation of the oak forest in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) metropolitan area (TCMA) over a recent 7-year interval. Between 1991 and 1998, urbanization increased based on several indicators: population density, area of developed land, and area of impervious surface-total impervious area and area within three classes of increasing degree of imperviousness (protected, affected, and degraded). We quantified relationships between changes in urbanization and changes in several parameters describing the oak forest at the scale of ecological subsection. Increased total and affected impervious area were strongly correlated with decreased area of oak forest when changes of the urbanization indicators and oak were expressed as percentages of the subsection area. Relationships were reversed when changes were expressed as percentages of the 1991 values. Increased population density was strongly correlated with increased loss in numbers and increased isolation of oak patches, but weakly correlated with loss of oak forest area. This is the first study to quantify relationships between changes in urbanization and changes in a specific forest cover type. Our results demonstrate complexities of urbanization impacts on a metropolitan forest resource, and highlight the importance of selected variables, spatial and temporal scales, and expressions of change when quantifying these relationships.
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- Developed land
- Impervious surface
- Urban indicator