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Remote Sensing: Land Use
Remotely-sensed images can be used by scientists to determine land use patterns such as vegetation, residential areas, and water ways. Land use maps can be created from these images and from observations made on the ground. Environmental scientists can compare landuse maps from different years to trace changes that occurred in an ecosystem over time.

Landuse maps of southern Florida show that the area changed a lot during the 20th century. Reports by settlers around 1900 suggest most of the region was covered with pinelands. There was a large area of sawgrass below Lake Okeechobee. In all, twelve land use forms were identified in southern Florida around 1900. All of these forms were part of the natural ecosystem of the region. A land use map of southern Florida in 1953 displays the presence of twelve additional land use forms in southern Florida. These include residential, commercial, and large agricultural areas, as well as reservoirs and power plants. By 1973, most of the pinelands that once covered southern Florida were replaced with commercial areas, crop fields, and pasture lands. Even the majority of the sawgrass below Lake Okeechobee has disappeared. Sugar cane fields now grow there.

 

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