A four-hour product oriented working group to make progress on the research agenda concerning Maps and Locals (MALS) that we proposed in our recent application for a LTER supplement grant. The goal of MALS is for each participating LTER site to compile land use maps for three points in time for its site, and then to characterize the changes over time both quantitative and qualitatively. The four hours is organized into a pair of two-hour sessions. Gil Pontius will lead the first session and Nathan Sayre will lead the second one.
In the first two-hour session, we will discuss how to approach the quantitative analysis to measure the land transitions. We have begun to develop a computer program to automate the analysis of transitions among land categories of a single site for three points in time. Our ideas build on the methods of Pontius and Malizia (2004) and Alo and Pontius (2008). Eventually, the computer program may be able to perform the same quantitative analysis for all participating LTER sites. If participants bring raster maps of land categories to the workshop, then we can begin to produce results at Estes Park in September.
In the second two-hour session of the workshop, we will discuss how to approach the qualitative analysis to explain and to interpretation the land transitions that the quantitative analysis measures. We will share some of our experiences gathering historical land management information using interviews, archival sources, and aerial photographs. We will discuss how to identify: i) hypothesized drivers of change, ii) the temporal and spatial scales of drivers, and iii) evidentiary needs, including the methodological strategies for meeting them. This should enable us to begin to classify types of local knowledge and their relationship to quantitative analysis across the LTER network.
Ultimately, we aim to create influential pieces of literature. Some synthesis papers are likely. Perhaps we will produce a volume that presents a collection of papers. This could take the form of a book or a special issue of a journal where each paper describes this research for one LTER site. The participants from each site will be the co-authors for each paper. The volume will be coherent in the respect that it will perform a similar type of quantitative analysis for all papers, and each paper’s results will be interpreted qualitatively by representatives from that paper’s site. We could aim to publish this volume in cooperation with the recently formed Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS) network.