The wildland-urban interface dynamics in the southeastern U.S. from 1990 to 2000

Yangjian Zhang, Hong S. He, Jian Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Resolving environmental impacts caused by the wildland-urban interface (WUI) expansion such as wildlife habitat fragmentation, or increased fire risk entails an accurate delineating of WUI boundary and its dynamics prediction. This study identified WUIs throughout the 11 states of southeastern U.S. in 1990 and 2000 and observed their change during this period utilizing census surveyed housing density and remotely sensed land-cover data. In 1990 and 2000, states of North Carolina and Virginia had the highest, while the state of Arkansas had the lowest proportion of WUI coverage. From 1990 to 2000, states of South Carolina, Florida and Mississippi have seen a radical WUI expansion, while North Carolina has experienced no noticeable WUI transformation. Total WUI area increased from 241,983 km2 in 1990 to 285,415 km2 in 2000. Wildland-urban interface patch number decreased from 1362 to 1282 and mean WUI patch size enlarged from 178 km2 to 233 km2. Total WUI area in each single year and new added WUI from 1990 to 2000 have high sensitivity to threshold adjustment of low housing density, vegetation density, while subtle sensitivity to threshold modification of high housing density. Vegetation density is a more significant factor than housing density in determining WUI coverage in both 1990 and 2000 and WUI dynamics from 1990 to 2000 in each state. Urban aggregation index is a significant factor related with WUI coverage in each state as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 30 2008


  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Sprawl
  • Urbanization
  • Wildfire
  • Wildland-urban interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies


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