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University of Regina (2004)

Landscape sensitivity and climate change in southern Saskatchewan

Kennedy, Samuel Duncan

Titre : Landscape sensitivity and climate change in southern Saskatchewan

Auteur : Kennedy, Samuel Duncan

Université de soutenance : University of Regina (Canada)

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2004

The landscape of southern Saskatchewan is a drought prone region dominated by agricultural production. In this region certain landscapes due to their properties are more sensitive than others to landscape degradation caused by both natural and anthropogenic forces. Given the potential impact of climate change on the landscapes and livelihood of the region, a GIS investigation on a regional scale was undertaken using three GCMs and two overlay methods to examine the sensitivity of the landscapes surrounding the six rural communities of Balcarres, Carlyle, Craik, Eastend, Naicam and Willow Bunch for the normal time period of 1961-1991 and for the 2050s. Regardless of the overlay method used, the most sensitive landscapes were found to be located on land under cultivation while the least were found on less disturbed landscapes. The differences in sensitivities produced by the two overlay methods for the normal time period were small, but for the 2050s the unequal overlay method predicted much larger changes in sensitivities compared to the equal method. Of the three GCMs used to predict sensitivity for the 2050s, CGCM1 and CGCM2 generally predicted the largest increases while HadCM3 generally predicted a decrease. Thus, the landscape sensitivity of the six study sites resulting from climate change is predicted to increase according to two of the three GCMS resulting in the expansion of the land area at risk of landscape degradation.

Mots clés : Geography, Earth sciences

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