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A comparison of landscape structure inside and outside the gates: analysis of the regional landscapes of four US Department of Energy facilities using US Geological Survey quadrangle maps and FRAGSTATS

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The US Department of Energy (USDOE) facilities encompass large tracts of land that include important regional ecological resources. The historical development and continued operation of these facilities has changed the structure of regional landscapes. A quantitative analysis was performed to determine if patterns of land use within the boundaries of selected USDOE facilities could be differentiated from regional landscapes. Four USDOE facilities were analysed: the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR), the Savannah River Site (SRS), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL). Quantitative measures that describe landscape structure were calculated with FRAGSTATS using information obtained from US Geological Survey (USGS) quadrangle maps (1:24,000). The analyses demonstrated that useful descriptions of general land use patterns could be obtained from the quadrangle maps using this simple, coarse and economical approach. However, patterns of land use within the facility boundaries could not be differentiated from those measured for the surrounding regional landscapes using the selected landscape metrics.

Keywords: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, FRAGSTATS, landscape analysis, landscape structure, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge Reservation, Savannah River site, US Department of Energy, US Geological Survey quadrangle maps

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