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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Darrell Napton


land use, land cover, Western Com Belt Plains, CRP, driving forces


Agricultural land use and land cover continues to dominate the Western Corn Belt Plains. Remotely-sensed imagery provided the data to analyze shifts among major land covers in the ecoregion for four periods. Land use and land cover changes were classified on areas selected through a random sampling scheme developed for the USGS Land Cover Trends Project. The overall change was estimated at approximately 1.96 percent. The major changes to the landscape were the conversion of agricultural lands to grasslands from 1986 to 1992, and urban expansion from 1992 to 2000. The expansion of grasslands appears to be the result of the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The forces that drove the changing land uses included various policies, accessibility to roads and railroads, and economic factors. The quality of the land, upon which driving forces operated, is also explored.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Land use -- Middle West
Land use -- Middle West -- Remote sensing
Middle West -- Historical geography


Includes bibliographical references (pages 115-124)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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