USGS - science for a changing world

Eastern Geographic Science Center

Description of Current Projects

Land Change Research

Principal Investigator: Steve Kambly, U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center

The Science Issue and Relevance
Land Change Research (LCR) addresses fundamental scientific issues concerning changes on the Nation's land surface that help to understand what changes are occurring on the Nation's land surface and why they are occurring; understand the impacts of these land surface changes on ecosystem health, climate variability, biogeochemical cycles, and hydrology; and understand how these impacts may, in turn, affect the land surface through feedback mechanisms.

Methodology for Addressing the Issue
To investigate these issues, the LCR has been pursuing the following 5-year goals:
  • Analyze the rates, types, spatial-temporal patterns and processes, proximate causes, and macro-scale human-environmental driving forces of United States land change.
  • Develop and model scenarios of land use and land cover change to understand the vulnerability and resilience of coupled human-environment systems and the services they provide.
  • Assess the societal significance and environmental impacts of contemporary and future land use and land cover change on earth systems and their associated feedbacks.
  • Conduct long-term monitoring of the status and trends of the U.S. land surface as critical input for regional and national assessments of land use change.

Landsat images and corresponding land cover interpretations how wetland loss in coastal Louisiana between 1981 and 2001

The Eastern Geographic Science Center supports the LCR project through analyis of Landsat imagery and aerial photography to develop land cover products, conduct land cover interpretation and analysis, develop and automate work flows, and conduct accuracy assessments.

Future Steps
New approaches are being developed to investigate land cover change over time.

Key Words: Land cover change, Landsat, Land cover interpretation, Product development

Contact Information:
Steven Kambly

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