Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Maria C. Papadakis

Wayne Teel

Louis F. Cassar


Ecological systems and services are foundational to human well-being, and in recent years have received increasing scholastic attention. The functional ability of these systems is influenced however, by human-induced land transformation related to conventional patterns of growth and development. Such land transformations, which commonly occur as single-family residential development, are criticized as being wasteful and inefficient, leading to issues like air and water pollution, diminished forests and wetlands, and habitat loss and fragmentation. In the United States a patchwork of policy exists aimed at addressing such ecological concerns. Despite best efforts, most local governments and planning offices still miss the mark, creating policy that only peripherally addresses ecological function. The research presented herein aims to deal with this; by way of a new heuristic, designed to link ecological function and land-use policy, this research offers direction to local land-use planners and policymakers who wish to integrate the preservation of ecological systems in local policy creation.