Date of Award

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geography and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Richard J. Hoch, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Brian W. Okey, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert E. Wilson, M.A.

Abstract

The exploration and development of the Marcellus Shale geologic formation has increased greatly over the last decade. Of all the states that share this resource, Pennsylvania has the most land area within the formation. The development of this resource has caused environmental concerns due to the controversial hydraulic fracturing process along with water and air pollution. An issue that also deserves attention: the fragmentation of forested land. This research will examine the cumulative effects between forest fragmentation and the Marcellus Shale pad site selection. This research assumes that Marcellus Shale pad development is having an adverse impact on contiguous forest land-cover. By using spatial data of Marcellus Shale pad sites and satellite imagery from pre- and post-pad development, a calculation of cumulative impacts on forest-land cover can be developed to quantify the amount of acreage that has been transformed from a forested use to an industrial use.

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