A 960-m test product for percent tree cover, gain and loss, 1999 to 2011, white-to-green scale: tree canopy cover (0-100 percent); red - tree cover loss; blue - tree cover gain; violet - tree cover loss followed by tree cover gain.
Land cover change is increasingly affecting the biophysics, biogeochemistry, and biogeography of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere, with far-reaching consequences to human well-being. However, our scientific understanding of the distribution and dynamics of land cover and land cover change (LCLCC) is limited. Previous global land cover assessments performed using coarse spatial resolution (300 m - 1 km) satellite data produced a global perspective on LCLCC, but did not provide enough thematic detail or change information for local, regional or global change studies, nor for resource managers. Even though high resolution (<=30 m) global land cover data derived from the 40-year Landsat record are desirable, until recently there were a number of challenges to overcome including data cost, consistent global coverage, data volume, shortcomings in pre-processing and interpretation algorithms, availability of training and validation data, and high-computing needs.
To address this need, the U.S. Group on Earth Observations (GEO), announced during the GEO Ministerial Summit in Beijing in November 2010 that the United States is launching a new global land change monitoring initiative. Following the announcement researchers from the USGS EROS, University of Maryland, State University of New York, and other collaborators joined the force to implement the project. The aim of the project is to develop the first-ever comprehensive and up-to-date LCLCC database of the world at 30-m spatial resolution using Landsat satellite data. Specific research objectives of the project are to (1) produce global land cover estimates of percent tree, percent bare ground, percent other vegetation, and percent water presence for 2000 and 2010 at nominal 30-m resolution; (2) develop an initial global land cover (type) baseline for the 2010 period; (3) implement an ongoing monitoring system that provides periodic (annually, biennially, and quinquennially) land cover updates and change products; (4) improve the availability and accessibility of 30-m class satellite data (whenever possible); and (5) establish the capability and capacity to develop historical land change time series (1970s to present).
Principal Investigator: Chandra Giri, email@example.com, EROS Center, Sioux Falls, SD
Project Team: Thomas Loveland, Keith Landgraf, Jordan Long, Bruce Pengra