Date of Award

Spring 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources: Environmental Conservation

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Russell G Congalton

Second Advisor

Kimberly J Babbitt


This study investigates the effects of land use change in the form of urbanization on the size and spatial distribution of wetlands in New Hampshire. I predict that with increased urbanization, the number of wetlands lost will rise, causing an increase in landscape fragmentation. Aerial photography, US Geological Survey topographic maps, National Agriculture Imagery Program imagery, hydrography and National Wetlands Inventory data layers were analyzed using GIS tools along four urban-rural gradient transects 5km by 25km in size. Each study area transect included urban, suburban and rural areas. This study identified the relationships between the urbanization level and the size and spatial patterns of wetlands. A relationship between wetland distribution and urbanization as well as wetland size and urbanization was found for all study area transects. The results from this study suggest that wetland size and spatial distribution are being negatively affected by land use change within New Hampshire.