Long Island Land Use and Land Cover

Science Center Objects

On Long Island, land use includes the human activities and management practices for which land is used. Land cover is a mosaic of developed, forest, agriculture, and wetlands areas. Both land use and land cover are usually discussed in similar environments. The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) serves as the definitive LANDSAT-based, 30-meter resolution, land cover database for the Nation. NLCD provides spatial reference and descriptive data for characteristics of the land surface such as thematic class (for example, urban, agriculture, and forest), percent impervious surface, and percent tree canopy cover. The National Land Cover Database

Dominant covers across Long Island are developed, open space and forests, with locally dense urban development. More than half (53 percent) of the land cover area across Long Island in 2006 was developed, open space, low and medium-intensity categories (figures 5 - 6). About 10 percent is developed, high intensity, and Kings County attributes to about 60 percent of this category area within its political boundaries. About 3 percent of Long Islands area is cultivated crops or agricultural (Homer and others, 2011; Fry and others, 2011).


map of Long Island
Land use for Long Island, 2006(Public domain.)


graphic of land cover on Long Island 2006
Land Cover on Long Island and Kings County 2006(Public domain.)









graph of land cover for Long Island 2006
Land cover on Long Island and Queens county 2006(Public domain.)










graph of land cover on Long Island
Land cover on Long Island and Nassau county 2006(Public domain.)









graph of land cover on Long Island
Land cover on Long Island and Suffolk county 2006(Public domain.)










LI landcover graph
Land cover in square miles for Long Island counties - Kings, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk(Public domain.)


graph of LI land cover
Long Island Land Cover in sq. miles(Public domain.)

From the early 1900's, land cover on Long Island has trended toward the conversion of open space and agricultural land into residential, industrial, and commercial development.

The accompanying web sites are available showing the use of land on Long Island and were compiled from reports prepared by the Nassau County Planning Department, the Suffolk County Planning Department, and the New York City Department of Planning. Data for the four counties on Long Island are not available for precisely the same time. Furthermore, the three agencies did not use precisely the same land classifications. Despite these inconsistencies, however, the data shown are reasonably representative for the period designated as present “2005-2010", and provide considerable insight to the general characteristics of land use on Long Island at the present time (2014).

Suffolk and Nassau:

Long Island Land Use Interactive Map

New York City:
New York City Land Use Maps
New York City Land Use Tabular Data

Rauch Foundation reports:
Land Use in Nassau and Suffolk Counties
What Happens When We Run Out of Land?



Table of Contents

State of the Aquifer, Long Island, New York - Introduction

Location and Physical Setting


  1. Hydrolgeologic Units
  2. Fresh and Saltwater Relations/Interactions

State of the Aquifer System

  1. Precipitation
  2. NWIS - the USGS Data Archive 
  3. Surface Water - Streamflow
  4. Groundwater Levels
  5. Water Table and Surface Maps
  6. Water Use
  7. Groundwater Budget
  8. Inflow to the Groundwater System
  9. Outflow from the Groundwater System
  1. Case Studies

Interactive Content