College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Center for Land Use Education and Research

About Connecticut's Landscape Project

How the Maps Were Produced | Caution! | FAQ | Map Category Descriptions

How the Maps Were Produced

It Starts with Land Cover

The forest fragmentation maps begin with land cover. Land cover, as its name implies, shows the "covering" of the landscape. This is to be distinguished from land use, which is what is permitted, practiced or intended for a given area. For example, a "developed" land cover area as detected by the satellite may appear as "commercial" on your town's zoning map. CLEAR's land cover information comes from remotely sensed data from satellites, in this case several of the Landsat satellite series. Sensors aboard the satellite collect (sense) radiation in a number of different wavelengths that is reflected from the surface of the earth. The data are converted via computer programs and human expertise into land cover maps made up of many pieces, or pixels, of information that are 30 meters (or about 100 feet) square. Although remotely sensed land cover maps have been around for quite some time, comparing different land cover datasets has been difficult. Satellite sensors are continually evolving along with the land cover information derived from them. Land cover derived from images from different years taken by different sensors (and perhaps at different times of the year) normally cannot be compared directly with any claim of accuracy. CLEAR's challenge was to solve this "apples and oranges" problem by using a technique called "cross-correlation analysis." This allows us to provide state citizens and decision makers with reliable, comparable information which shows how Connecticut's landscape has changed over the last 21 years. Maps from five dates (1985, 1990, 1995, 2002 and 2006) were created, and can be explored in various ways from the land cover Statewide Data page. The land cover information is available at a more detailed level for each of the 169 individual municipalities in Connecticut, as well as for watersheds.

Land Cover + Landscape Fragmentation Tool/Model = Forest Fragmentation Maps

Once the land cover was created for multiple dates covering Connecticut, it became possible to apply a Forest Fragmentation Model to the land cover in order to derive forest fragmentation maps. The model, or tool, used is called the Landscape Fragmentation Tool. The concept of the model is based on several research papers (see the Landscape Fragmentation Tool website for more information). CLEAR's own Jason Parent took the concepts and created a tool that runs in Geographic Information System (GIS) software. The results of the model are displayed throughout this website, in the Your Town, Your Watershed, Statewide Information and Interactive Map. You can also download the maps or the tool itself.


Make sure you understand some important information about the land cover and therefore forest fragmentation maps. Visit the Caution! page on the land cover website.

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