Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

John D. Peine

Committee Members

James Spencer, Cecilia Zanetta


In this thesis a methodology for developing an integrated cumulative analysis of sensitive natural resources was developed. Themes of natural resources-waterways, wetlands, forested lands, prime agricultural soils, and steep slopes-were brought together in a GIS system, in a grid format, in a manner so that each cell of the grid accumulated value according to the increasing presence of resource themes. For example, an area (30 meter x 30 meter grid cell) containing only one of the above themes is given a value of "l," whereas an area containing slopes, streams, and forests might, after weighting factors, have a value of "5." The result is a map that demonstrates the cumulative value of sensitivity of a given area and its relative relation to the landscape under analysis. The methodology uses off-the-shelf GIS software and available GIS data sources, and is designed to require a minimum of technical and financial resources. This methodology is particularly useful for counties in Tennessee in meeting the requirements of Public Chapter 1101, the Growth Policy Act.

The case study for this thesis reveals that much development does, in fact, occur in sensitive natural areas and that, therefore, this tool could be well utilized by planners to inform the public and to assist in the development of policy aimed toward the protection of sensitive areas from activities that would reduce their capacity to serve their natural functions.

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