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Nordic Hydrology Vol 38 No 2 pp 125–138 © IWA Publishing 2007 doi:10.2166/nh.2007.002

Landscape metrics as indicators of river water quality at catchment scale

Evelyn Uuemaa, Jüri Roosaare and Ülo Mander

Institute of Geography, University of Tartu, Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu, Estonia .*Corresponding author:mander@ut.ee


We investigated the relationship between land use parameters and FRAGSTATS-based landscape metrics (Edge Density, Patch Density, Mean Shape Index, Mean Euclidean Nearest Neighbour Index, Contagion, Patch Richness Density and Shannon's Diversity Index) and nutrient/organic-matter-based water quality indicators (BOD7 and CODKMnO4 values, total-N and total-P concentrations in water) in 24 catchments with various land use patterns in Estonia, using the CORINE Land Cover Map (1:100 000). Multiple regression analysis showed that, for BOD7, total-N and total-P, the most important predictor was the proportion of urban areas, but landscape metrics also had a significant relationship with water quality. Mean Shape Index and Contagion were the most important predictors for CODKMnO4. The knowledge that land use and landscape configuration impact water quality can be used in establishing and implementing water management plans in Europe.

Keywords: Catchments; land use; landscape metrics; water quality

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