Geography ETDs

Publication Date



This study examines how land-use policies can play a role in manifesting physical landscape changes. In 2000, Congress enacted a unique experiment in public lands management by creating the Valles Caldera National Preserve and its governing body, the Valles Caldera Trust (VCT). The management approach enacted by Valles Caldera Trust marked a significant departure in land-use intensity. To assess how these changes in management have affected land-use intensity and resulting cover change, this research seeks to identify landscape-level changes that taken place during a period of ten years prior to and following the formation of the Valles Caldera National Preserve (i.e., 1989-2013). Remote sensing techniques were used to quantify land cover transitions. Landsat image data (30m) from 1989, 1999, 2003, and 2013 were compared to identify changes that have taken place between the time periods 1989-1999, a period just prior to the purchase of the Baca Ranch by the federal government, and 10 years of management by the Valles Caldera Trust, 2003-2013. In order to do this, pre-classification change detection was used to quantify changes that have taken place during each period and a range of historical evidence used to classify those changes by disturbance regime. Results demonstrate an increase in wetland and rangeland recovery under VCT management based on evaluating several ancillary datasets. This leads to the conclusion that adaptive management strategies were beneficial for these cover types. The impact of the VCTs adaptive management strategies on forests is difficult to understand due to large wildfire-induced cover changes that occurred during VCT management.'

Degree Name


Department Name


Level of Degree


First Advisor

Lippitt, Christopher

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lippitt, Christopher

Second Committee Member

Caitlin, Lippitt

Third Committee Member

Lane, Maria

Document Type





Remote Sensing, Land Management, Adaptive Management, Valles Caldera Trust, Land Cover Change