Date of Graduation

5-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor

Matlock, Marty D

Abstract

The University of Arkansas has been a site of population and urban growth since its inception in 1871. This urban development has caused extreme changes in land use, and with this has also come a change in ecosystem services provided by the area. Ecosystem services are benefits acquired by humans that are provided by functions are an ecosystem (Constanza et al., 1997). Constanza developed a method for quantifying ecosystem services. In this method, Constanza valuated ecosystem services for biomes. These service values were based on the economic value of the service provided, and were given in dollar per hectare-year. A case study of Mullins Creek, an urban stream with its head waters located on the University of Arkansas campus, was the focus of this research project. Using delineation data from a previous research project on this stream, the watershed for Mullins Creek on campus was mapped in ArcGIS and the land use and land cover areas for the watershed found. The land use and land covers given in ArcGIS were converted to biomes as defined by Constanza. The geometric area for each biome in hectares was multiplied by the service value defined by Constanza, and a total dollar per year value for the watershed was calculated. After the present ecosystem service value for the watershed was found, the predeveloped watershed was considered. The land use and land cover for this watershed was estimated using historical information regarding the university. The land use areas were acquired from ArcGIS and multiplied by the service value for each land area to receive the dollar per year service value of the pre-developed watershed. With the present and pre-developed service values known, it was found that there was a significant loss in ecosystem service values since the university was founded. Therefore, a design for improvements was developed in order to recover some of the service values lost due to urbanization. A ?possible? watershed was developed with land use changes suggested that would increase service value without drastically changing current infrastructure and function of the urban area. Green roofs and pervious pavements were two land covers considered. Green roofs were suggested for specific buildings within the watershed, and pervious pavement was suggested for specific parking lots. These specific locations were identified in ArcGIS and the new land use areas found. These areas were again multiplied by the service values for each land use, with green roofs considered grass/rangelands at 75% value, and pervious pavements as grass/rangelands at 50% value. The calculated results showed that with the land use changes suggested, there would be a 7% increase in service value. An economic analysis was performed to calculate the actual cost of implementing the suggested land use changes, and the costs were much more than the service value received. These results should not be a deterrent in considering land use changes for ecosystem service increase. The values found are not explicit values, but should be used for comparisons of land use change over time.

Keywords

ecosystem services, watershed, land use, urban growth

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Engineering Commons

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