Spatial analysis of the change in land cover and human well-being in the black-belt counties of Alabama
Previous studies at the county level have found an increase in forest cover, urbanization, and water structures in the Black Belt counties of Alabama and have documented the connection between such increase and socioeconomic development in the region. However, such findings have limited inferences as the studies did not address the variations in demographic, socioeconomic, and land cover attributes within the counties. A better understanding of such linkage is to integrate socio-economic and land cover information available at a finer geographic scale and use them in developing spatial predictive models. Using satellite images and U.S. census data, we quantified changes in land cover and human well-being matrices for census blockgroups for 1990 and 2000 and examined spatial regression models relating changes in human well-being index to the changes in major land cover types. Results suggest that weak relationship between human well-being and land cover types was improved significantly after accounting for spatial correlations.