Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

A note on contagion indices for landscape analysis

Informally Refereed
Authors: Kurt H. Riitters, Robert V. O'Neill, James D. Wickham, K. Bruce Jones
Year: 1996
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Landscape Ecology 11(4): 197-202


The landscape contagion index measures the degree of clumping of attributes on raster maps. The index is computed from the frequencies by which different pairs of attributes occur as adjacent pixels on a map. Because there are subtle differences in the way the attribute adjacencies may be tabulated, the standard index formula may not always apply, and published index values may not be comparable. This paper derives formulas for the contagion index that apply for different wpys of tabulating attribute adjacencies - with and without preserving the order of pixels in pairs, and by using two different ways of determining pixel adjacency. When the order of pixels in pairs is preserved, the standard formula is obtained. When the order is new formula is obtained because the number of possible attribute adjacency states is smaller. Estimated contagion is also smaller when each pixel pair is counted twice (instead of once) because double-counting pixel adjacencies makes the attribute adjacency matrix symmetric across the main diagonal.


Spatial pattern, image texture, information index, computation, statistics


Riitters, Kurt H.; O''Neill, Robert V.; Wickham, James D.; Jones, K. Bruce. 1996. A note on contagion indices for landscape analysis. Landscape Ecology 11(4): 197-202