Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Not Listed

Committee Chair

Michael Strager

Committee Member

Donald Adjeroh

Committee Member

Michael Dougherty

Committee Member

Hodjat Ghadimi

Committee Member

Charles Yuill


Land development is a complex and dynamic process simultaneously interacting with numerous environmental, cultural and economic procedures. In this research we studied past, present and future of land transformation in Appalachia. This dissertation is organized in three-essay format and each essay is focused on one aspect of land development processes in a sub-region in the Appalachian region. In the first essay, deep learning techniques are used to build predictive models for the land development. This study presets deconvolutional neural networks models in predicting land development. On the second essay, spatial data analysis and remote sensing are used to investigate the history of land development in WV from 1985 to 2015. Global and local coefficient analysis is conducted to analyze the variables impacting the land development. Through this analysis we discussed the role of energy development in the land development of WV. The results of this paper show that land transformation in the study area is highly dynamic and fragmented. Changing patterns of energy extraction impacts the patterns of land development in this region. These dynamic patterns not only influence the social life of communities but also the ecosystem services supply-demand patterns. In the third essay, we mapped and monitored the non-monetary budget of land transformation through the essence of Ecosystem Services (ES). Our analysis provides information for urban and regional planners, environmental scientist and developers towards making efficient and sustainable decisions. Findings of this research facilitate communities with a resourceful roadmap toward higher quality of life and indicators.