Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Forestry and Natural Resources

First Advisor

Dr. Jian Yang


Lyme disease has been of national concern for the past few decades. As our understanding of the role of landscape structure in epidemiology expands, it is essential to apply the principles of landscape ecology to the research of vector-borne and zoonotic disease. This study examined the strength of the relationship between land-cover class, degree of habitat fragmentation and county-level Lyme disease cases. Forest, agricultural, and urban land cover types were the categories of interest, while percent cover, edge density, and patch density were the landscape metric used to measure habitat amount and fragmentation. The general linear trends were modelled with the Quasi-Poisson family to quantify the relationship between land cover metrics and case numbers. Forest land had the greatest effect on case numbers, while urban and agriculture had either positive or negative relationships depending on the chosen metric. Fragmentation had a substantial effect on case number, regardless of cover type. The findings can be employed by policy makers and those who work in environments that foster high disease incidence, to keep workers and the local populations safe and healthy.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was funded through an assistantship program provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Insitute for Occupational Safety and Health/ Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center for 2022 and 2023.

Available for download on Saturday, July 20, 2024