Information on future land-use and land-cover (LULC) change is needed to analyze the impact of LULC change on ecological processes. The U.S. Geological Survey has produced spatially explicit, thematically detailed LULC projections for the conterminous United States. Four qualitative and quantitative scenarios of LULC change were developed, with characteristics consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 5 Emission Scenarios (SRES). The four quantified scenarios (A1B, A2, B1, and B2) served as input to the Forecasting Scenarios of Land-use Change (FORE-SCE) model. Four spatially explicit datasets consistent with scenario storylines were produced for the conterminous United States, with annual LULC maps from 1992 through 2100. The future projections are characterized by a loss of natural land covers in most scenarios, with corresponding expansion of 10 anthropogenic land uses. Along with the loss of natural land covers, remaining natural land covers experience increased fragmentation under most scenarios, with only the B2 scenario remaining relatively stable in both proportion of remaining natural land covers and basic fragmentation measures. Forest stand age was also modeled. By 2100, scenarios and ecoregions with heavy forest cutting have relatively lower mean stand ages compared to those with less 15 forest cutting. Stand ages differ substantially between unprotected and protected forest lands, as well as between different forest classes. The modeled data were compared to the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) and other data sources to assess model characteristics. The consistent, spatially explicit, and thematically detailed LULC projections and the associated forest stand age data layers have been used to analyze LULC impacts on carbon and greenhouse gas fluxes, 20 biodiversity, climate and weather variability, hydrologic change, and other ecological processes.
Additional publication details
Spatially explicit modeling of 1992-2100 land cover and forest stand age for the conterminous United States
Ecological Society of America
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center