A national overview of the geographic variability of land-use and land-cover change in ecoregions, 1973 to 2000.
This project examines the extent, processes, and implications of US land change at multiple scales. The study will provide an improved understanding of recent and historical land use change, focusing on the analysis of human-environmental interaction. It also will develop a better understanding of socioeconomic and biophysical driving forces. It will investigate emerging regional land system dynamics, including the combined influence of urbanization, agriculture, forest, grassland, and other land uses on ecoregions. The current focus is on developing a consistent and up-to-date analysis of the geographic and temporal dimensions of U.S. land-use and land-cover change. The study takes a comprehensive approach to land change by examining a full range of land use and land cover types that are derived from Landsat satellite data, land cover interpretations, and available land use data. Assessments conducted across the diverse socioeconomic and ecological settings of the U.S. provide a context to understand land management implications related to landscape conservation and climate.
Why is this research important?
Land use and land cover change is now recognized as a major force of environmental change. It affects ecosystem function, biodiversity and habitat, water quality and quantity, and is a forcing and feedback factor to climate change, among numerous other consequences that range from dust flux to forest fragmentation. This project specifically contributes to understanding the status, trends, and consequences of land change across the ecological regions of the United States.