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Using Backcast Land-Use Change and Groundwater Travel-Time Models to Generate Land-Use Legacy Maps for Watershed Management

Bryan Pijanowski, Purdue University
Deepak K Ray, Purdue University
Anthony D Kendall, Michigan State University
Jonah M Duckles, Purdue University
David W Hyndman, Michigan State University


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We couple two spatial-temporal models, a backcast land-use change model and a groundwater flow model, to develop what we call “land-use legacy maps.” We quantify how a land-use legacy map, created from maps of past land use and groundwater travel times, differs from a current land-use map. We show how these map differences can affect land-use planning and watershed management decisions at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Our approach demonstrates that land-use legacy maps provide a more accurate representation of the linkage between land use/cover and current water quality compared to the current land-use map. We believe that the historical signatures of land-use impacts on current water quality should be considered in land-use planning and watershed management.

Key words

land use; legacy maps; groundwater travel times; backcast land change model
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087