Spatial Analysis of Coastal Land Loss by Soil Type
Keywords:Coastal zone management, erosion, GIS, geographical information systems, proximity models, wetlands
A geographic information system (GIS) was developed to quantify and illustrate the conversion of wetlands to open water in the Cameron-Creole Watershed Management Area in southwestern Louisiana. An accelerating trend of land loss was identified for the period between 1933 and 1975. A land loss of 75 km2 was recorded. The land losses are associated with a complex combination of natural and man-made causes. After the land loss for a given period was established, the GIS was used to merge soil type data with the land loss data to establish the influence of soil type on land loss. Certain soil associations were shown to suffer disproportionate losses of land. Finally, a computerized proximity model was developed to examine possible methodologies for analyzing and predicting the spatial distribution of land loss. With further development, such models may become important tools in determining best management practices (BMP) for wetlands.