Hot spots are often associated with places where an abnormal process has occurred. Accordingly, their identification can help experts and managers to scrutinize the state of health and sustainability, from an ecological point of view. The present study was therefore conducted to analyze the spatial autocorrelation and identify hot spots of 11 landscape metrics, the new Runoff Landscape Index (RLI), and its related factors in 28 watersheds of Ardabil province. The average positive values of the z score obtained from Moran's index indicate the presence of spatial correlation in the studied watersheds. In addition, the results of local Moran's showed that the landscape metrics have a structured spatial pattern and are not randomly distributed. A completely unipolar pattern was obtained for land cover factor (λC), soil factor (λK), and RLI. Furthermore, the negative values of the local Moran's index for the topographic factor (λS) proved the scattered pattern. Spatial distribution of hot and cold spots, using the Getis-Ord-Gi index, showed no significant pattern in the λC of Ahmadkandi, Akbardavod, Deru, Mashiran, Firozabad, Lai, Nir, and Hir watersheds. Cold spots were observed in the Eiril, Namin, and Nanehkaran watersheds at the 90% confidence level and the rest of watersheds had hot spots at a 95% confidence level. The RLIs of Ahmadkandi, Akbardavod, Deru, Mashiran, Firozabad, Lai, Nir, and Hir watersheds lack a significant pattern, and the rest of watersheds showed the hot spots at a 95% confidence level.
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