Western U.S. Cheatgrass and Shrubland Monitoring

Science Center Objects

The USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center National Land Cover Database team in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has produced the most comprehensive remote-sensing based quantification of western United States shrublands to date.

Map of Western U.S. Shrubland Mapping

Nine individual products have been developed that represent the primary shrubland components: percent shrub, percent sagebrush, percent big sagebrush, percent herbaceous, percent annual herbaceous, percent litter, percent bare ground, shrub height, and sagebrush height. 

This approach relies on three major steps: creating training datasets using field measurements and high-resolution satellite imagery at selected sites, extrapolating these training datasets to the landscape level using Landsat 8, and validating the final products with independent field measurements.

Product creation was prioritized to focus on sagebrush ecosystems, with nominal date products from 2013 – 2017 now available for download. For sagebrush ecosystems, research has shown these products enable more successful monitoring of gradual change and are now being used to support historical quantification of changing trends across shrubland ecosystems.

In addition, targeted products are also offered that have been developed for dynamic mapping of cheatgrass.

Fore more information, visit the Western U.S. Cheatgrass and Shrubland Monitoring, visit the NLCD project page