Methods to Quantify Regional Differences in Land Cover Change

This paper describes and illustrates methods for quantifying regional differences in land use/land cover changes. A series of approaches are used to analyse differences in land cover change from data held in change matrices. These are contingency tables and are commonly used in remote sensing to describe the spatial coincidence of land cover recorded over two time periods. Comparative analyses of regional change are developed using odds ratios to analyse data in two regions. These approaches are extended using generalised linear models to analyse data for three or more regions. A generalised Poisson regression model is used to generate a comparative index of change based on differences in change likelihoods. Mosaic plots are used to provide a visual representation of statistically surprising land use losses and gains. The methods are explored using a hypothetical but tractable dataset and then applied to a national case study of coastal land use changes over 50 years conducted for the National Trust. The suitability of the different approaches to different types of problem and the potential for their application to land cover accuracy measures are briefly discussed.