Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Geography, Environment and Planning

Major Professor

Ruiliang Pu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kamal Alsharif, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark R. Hafen, Ph.D.


Wetland Health, LULC Change, Vegetation Indices


The Green Swamp Preserve is a large geographic area that has sustained many changes since Europeans settled in Florida. There has been little published research on the impacts of anthropogenic activity on this system. This thesis research seeks to document more recent changes in the Green Swamp and to evaluate the effects of various human activities on the system. The study period is from 1985 to 2015. For this time period changes in land use and landcover were examined using neural network classifications. Changes in vegetation health were evaluated by examining Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Green Vegetation Index differences. Field site visits were made to document current conditions at thirty sample locations within the study area. Changes in land use and landcover and vegetation health were evaluated in relation to anthropogenic activities such as proximity to pollution sources, conservation lands and restoration sites. Statistical analysis was conducted to determine if statistically significant clustering occurred in these changes and if present geographically weighted regressions were performed to determine if a significant spatial relationship existed between the clustering and the various human activities. WAP data showed an overall decline in wetland health at the assessment sites and showed a trend of lower wetland health at sites within 2 Km of pollution sources, specifically petroleum tank contamination sites and state roads. The statistically significant clustering identified in land use landcover changes from 1985 to 2015 were in relation to changes from field, forested and wetland landcover types to built environments. Spatial relationships were identified between the proximity of petroleum tank contamination sites, state roads and solid waste facilities and clustering of NDVI decreases from 1985 to 2015. NDVI increases in the study area from 1985 to 2015 also showed statistically significant clustering in relation to conservation lands and lands purchased by the Southwest Florida Water Management District for environmental protection. These preliminary findings suggest that human activities may have influenced changes in the health of the Green Swamp. Further, more extensive research is suggested to confirm these findings.