Award Date


Degree Type

Professional Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Public Administration

First Committee Member

William N. Thompson, Chair

Second Committee Member

Karen S. Layne

Third Committee Member

Leonard E. Goodall

Fourth Committee Member

David K. Kreamer

Number of Pages



Alternative futures analysis is a scenario-based approach to regional land planning that attempts to synthesize existing scientific information in a format useful to community decision makers. Typically, this approach attempts to investigate the impacts of several alternative sets of choices preferred by representative stakeholder groups relative to selected environmental or economical endpoints. Potential impacts from each of the scenarios are compared to current conditions of the region in terms of a set of processes that are modeled within a geographic information system. Future conditions are generally examined from the perspective of a recent baseline condition (versus empirically determined using a series of retrospective measurements).

During the past two decades, important advances in the integration of remote imagery, computer processing, and spatial analysis technologies have been linked to the study of distribution patterns of communities and ecosystems and the ecological processes that affect these patterns. Because of the 25+ year availability of commercial satellite imagery, it is possible to examine environmental change and establish models which can narrow the actual choice of possible and probable change scenarios.

This professional paper examines the potential to establish reference condition and measure change over large geographic areas; determine trends in environmental condition; and model and predict future landscape scenarios using advanced space-based technologies. Specifically, landscape pattern measurements were developed from satellite remote sensing, spatial statistics, and geographic information systems technology for a semi-arid watershed in southeast Arizona and northeast Sonora, Mexico and evaluated for their use in a decision-making framework.


Regional planning – Environmental aspects; Remote-sensing images


Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Policy | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Water Resource Management

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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