Assessing development pressure in the Chesapeake Bay watershed: an evaluation of two land-use change models. Academic Article uri icon


  • Natural resource lands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are increasingly susceptible to conversion into developed land uses, particularly as the demand for residential development grows. We assessed development pressure in the Baltimore-Washington, DC region, one of the major urban and suburban centers in the watershed. We explored the utility of two modeling approaches for forecasting future development trends and patterns by comparing results from a cellular automata model, SLEUTH (slope, land use, excluded land, urban extent, transportation), and a supply/demand/allocation model, the Western Futures Model. SLEUTH can be classified as a land-cover change model and produces projections on the basis of historic trends of changes in the extent and patterns of developed land and future land protection scenarios. The Western Futures Model derives forecasts from historic trends in housing units, a U.S. Census variable, and exogenously supplied future population projections. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses, and combining the two has advantages and limitations.

publication date

  • June 2004