USGS - science for a changing world

The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI)



US Land Cover

Land Cover Land Use Trends
Land Cover Trends is a research project focused on understanding the rates, trends, causes, and consequences of contemporary U.S. land use and land cover change. The research is supported by the Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program (GAM) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is a collaborative effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Land Cover Land Use Trends

Multi-resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC)
The National Land Cover Database products are created through a cooperative project conducted by the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium. The MRLC Consortium is a partnership of federal agencies, consisting of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Office of Surface Mining (OSM). Previously, NLCD consisted of three major data releases based on a 10-year cycle. These include a circa 1992 conterminous U.S. land cover dataset with one thematic layer (NLCD 1992), a circa 2001 50-state/Puerto Rico updated United States land cover database (NLCD 2001) with three layers including thematic land cover, percent imperviousness, and percent tree canopy, and a 1992/2001 Land Cover Change Retrofit Product. With these national data layers, there is often a 5-year time lag between the image capture date and product release. In some areas, the land cover can undergo significant change during production time, resulting in products that may be perpetually out of date. To address these issues, this circa 2006 NLCD land cover product (NLCD 2006) was conceived to meet user community needs for more frequent land cover monitoring (moving to a 5-year cycle) and to reduce the production time between image capture and product release. NLCD 2006 is designed to provide the user both updated land cover data and additional information that can be used to identify the pattern, nature, and magnitude of changes occurring between 2001 and 2006 for the conterminous United States at medium spatial resolution.
Multi-resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC)

National Burn Severity Mapping Project
The Joint National Park Service/ USGS National Burn Severity Mapping Project addresses the need to quantify fire effects over large, often-remote regions and long time intervals. It reflects collaborative efforts to bring previous research into operational implementation for fire managers and scientists. The project focuses on National Park Service Units and adjoining lands throughout the U.S., mostly beginning with fire-year 2000, although earlier burns have been examined in some areas.
National Burn Severity Mapping Project

Fire Science
Fire is an integral part of ecosystem functions and processes. The need to develop spatial information and technology lies in a fire's natural cycle: fire danger and live fire monitoring, post-fire mapping of burn scars and analysis of fire effects, fire fuels characteristics and mapping. These activities form the core of a strategy for the USGS EROS Center fire research and development.
Fire Science

Landfire
The LandFire project is a collaborative effort between several federal agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Fire & Aviation Management, Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), USGS and Department of the Interior National Fire Plan Coordinators. The objective of this project is to develop the inputs and methods, including a comprehensive package of spatial data layers, models, and tools required to implement the National Fire Plan.
Landfire




Phenological Characterization
The use of satellite imagery provides a unique vantage point for observing seasonal dynamics of the landscape. The USGS EROS Center has developed a data set of seasonal metrics derived from multi-temporal Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) observations for the conterminous United States.
Phenological Characterization
Characterizing the status, variability and temporal dynamics of ecological systems in the southwest
This research characterizes the seasonal phenology and interannual dynamics of ecological systems as recently mapped in the arid and semi-arid southwest to create a 'phenological profile' of the system. Changes in these profiles may be due to many factors, including fire, invasion of non-native species, land use activities, and vegetation response to climate fluctuations or change.
Characterizing the status, variability and temporal dynamics of ecological systems in the southwest

To determine the availability of other land cover related datasets inside and outside of the U.S. please access the "Get Land Cover Data" webpage.

For a more complete and up to date list of ongoing land cover projects at other USGS Science Centers:

 Alaska Science Center
 Eastern Geographic Science Center
 Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center
 Western Geographic Science Center


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Page Last Modified: December 2012