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Tuesday, May 8 • 8:00am - 5:00pm
POSTER: Mapping and Geospatial Analysis of stone Walls in Massachusetts and Connecticut

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AUTHORS: Cheyenne Haverfield*, University of Connecticut Center for Integrative Geosciences; William Ouimet, University of Connecticut Center for Integrative Geosciences and Department of Geography

ABSTRACT: From the 17th to early 20th century, deforestation and agricultural growth was common in the northeastern United States. The amount of land cleared in most of the region reached a peak around 1850 and forests regrew after that time. Today, LiDAR point clouds and derivative bare earth rasters (DEMs, hillshades, and slope maps) can be used to identify and analyze relict land use features beneath the forest canopy, such as stone walls, that are indicative of historic land clearing for agricultural purposes. This presentation focuses on mapping and analyzing datasets of stone walls in select towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut. All towns studied lie outside the Connecticut River valley in terrain underlain mainly by glacial till. Massachusetts towns typically have fewer length of stone walls (per sq km) than Connecticut towns. In Massachusetts, high stone wall density consistently occurs within terrain mapped as non-forest in 1830 town survey maps. In the context of modern day land cover maps, we see a shift where high-density stone wall areas can exist equally within modern forest and non-forest areas. Areas mapped as non-forest today, particularly developed areas, often have a lower amount of stone walls - reflecting either removal of walls or that road construction and development obscure stone walls in LiDAR data and lead to fewer being mapped in those areas. Overall, stone wall datasets are valuable resources not only for analysis of historic land clearing, but also for conservation and preservation efforts in forests throughout the region.

Tuesday May 8, 2018 8:00am - 5:00pm EDT
Laurel/McHugh Hall First Floor

Attendees (1)