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Measuring Socioeconomic Influences On Land Use Distribution at Watershed Level: A Multinomial Logit Analysis

Gandhi Raj Bhattarai, Daowei Zhang, Upton Hatch


Allocation of fixed proportions of land to developed, agricultural, forest, and other uses in a watershed was modeled as an optimization problem faced by a single user. Two time period cross-sectional data for 60 watersheds were used in the analysis. A multinomial logit model was used to explain the effect of population density, mean age, market concentration, travel time to work, road accessibility, personal income, education level and longitude and latitude of watersheds. Developed land use share was positively related to higher market concentrations and road accessibility, but with a higher average time to work, suggesting a rural-urban job interface. Personal income had significant and negative influence in agricultural land share, which in contrast, was increased with higher proportion of people with college degrees. As the largest city in the study area is blocked by a major river in its west, longitude had a negative influence on developed land share and a positive influence on agricultural, forest and other land use. Latitude positively influenced developed, agricultural and other land shares but negatively influenced share of forestland as the study area is on U.S. costal plains.

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