This map shows the distribution of developed land cover in Puerto Rico (Martinuzzi et al. 2007). Developed land cover refers to urban, built-up and non-vegetated areas that result from human activity. These typically include built structures, concrete, asphalt, and other infrastructure. The developed land cover was estimated using Landsat 7 ETM+ satellite images pan sharpened to a spatial resolution of 15 meter. Multiple Landsat ETM+ images, ranging from the years 2000 to 2003, were used to create a mosaic of the island. The Iterative Self-Organizing Data Analysis Technique (ISODATA) unsupervised classification algorithm (ERDAS 2003) was used to analyze the mosaic and map the urban/built-up cover. The resulting map gives us an idea of the distribution of developed lands in Puerto Rico. For the years 2000 to 2003, Puerto Rico had 95 342 ha of developed land cover, 11% of the island’s surface. Developed pixels are distributed throughout the island, including large clusters in coastal plains and valleys, and linear developments along highways and roads. A few less developed regions appear without this human impact: Regions that are protected, have steep slopes, are dedicated to agriculture, or are wetlands. In analyzing the relationship of development with the major physiographic units of the island, i.e. plains, hills, and mountains, we found that 60% of the development occurs in the plains, where the most productive lands for agriculture are also located. As a result, one-quarter of the soils of the plains have been transformed into built-up areas. In the hills and mountains the presence of developed areas represents less than 7% of the total area.
Gould, William A.; Martinuzzi, Sebastian; Ramos Gonzalez, Olga M. 2008. Developed land cover of Puerto Rico. Scale 1: 260 000. Res. Map IITF-RMAP-10. Rio Piedras, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry.