The Land Cover Trends is a research project focused on understanding the rates, trends, causes, and consequences of contemporary United States land-use and land-cover change. The project is coordinated by the Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Using the EPA Level III ecoregions as the geographic framework, scientists process geospatial data collected between 1973 and 2000 were processed to characterize ecosystem responses to land-use changes. The 27-year study period was divided into four temporal periods: 1973 to1980, 1980 to 1986, 1986 to 1992, 1992 to 2000 and overall from 1973 to 2000. General land-cover classes for these periods were interpreted from Landsat Multispectral Scanner, Thematic Mapper, and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus imagery to categorize and evaluate land-cover change using a modified Anderson Land Use Land Cover Classification System (Anderson and others, 1976) for image interpretation.
The rates of land-cover change were estimated using a stratified, random sampling of 10-kilometer (km) by 10-km blocks allocated within each ecoregion. For each sample block, satellite images were used to interpret land-cover change. The sample block data then were incorporated into statistical analyses to generate an overall change matrix for the ecoregion. These change statistics are applicable for different levels of scale, including total change for the individual sample blocks and change estimates for the entire ecoregion.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Land-Cover Change in the Lower Mississippi Valley, 1973-2000