Land Change in the Mission-Aransas Coastal Region, Texas: Implications for Coastal Vulnerability and Protected Areas
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The Mission-Aransas coastal region (MACR) in Texas is home to settlements vulnerable to coastal hazards. The region also contains significant biodiversity including several endangered species. The habitats in the bays and estuaries of MACR are especially sensitive to changes in land use/land cover (LULC) within the drainage basins upstream. We examine LULC change in the MACR from 1990 to 2010 and its implications for coastal vulnerability of the built environment and for the biodiversity in the region. Our findings show that, from 1990 to 2010, about a quarter of the MACR experienced LULC change. Developed land increased 71% (from 118 km2 in 1990 to 203 km2 in 2010), by far the greatest proportional change among all land cover classes. The rate of increase of developed land was slightly higher along the coast, 75% (from 65 km2 in 1990 to 114 km2 in 2010). Almost 90% of all developed land was within 50 km of the protected areas in both years. Overall, our findings point to increased exposure of the people and infrastructure to coastal hazards. Given the high social vulnerability in the study area, our study can inform formulation of sustainable management options that minimize both the coastal vulnerability of people and infrastructure and the pressure on the protected areas that are critical for conservation of biodiversity in the region. © 2013 by the authors.
author list (cited authors)
Gueneralp, B., Gueneralp, I., Castillo, C. R., & Filippi, A. M.