Western Geographic Science Center

Landscape Change

Filter Total Items: 18
Date published: June 18, 2020
Status: Active

Recreational Birdwatching and Habitat

Thousands of visitors flock to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge every year to look for birds both rare and common. Birdwatching activities contribute to economic activity for the Nisqually area and play a role in the broader outdoor-loving culture of the Pacific Northwest. The refuge has kept detailed records of how birds are using the different habitats within the refuge...

Date published: June 18, 2020
Status: Active

Fisheries and Fish Habitat

The estuarine habitat of the Delta is critical to the production of salmon, which supports recreational, commercial, and subsistence fishing. The combination of shaded pools, shallow reaches, and a rich prey population provide excellent feeding grounds for juvenile fish. Fishing also holds great importance in the cultural practices of the Nisqually Tribe.

Date published: June 18, 2020
Status: Active

Marsh Elevation Change and Carbon Sequestration

Tidal marsh vegetation grows in a narrow elevation zone between sea level and the upland behind it. These plant communities have evolved to accumulate sediment over time and maintain their relative elevation with gradual rates of change in sea level. It is uncertain which marsh vegetation communities will be able to accumulate sediment at a rate that keeps pace with accelerated sea level rise...

Date published: June 15, 2020
Status: Active

An Ecosystem Services Assessment of the Nisqually River Delta, South Puget Sound, Washington

Overview of Nisqually River Delta ecosystem services modeling

Date published: June 2, 2020
Status: Active

Soil Compaction and Erosion

Extensive off-highway vehicle (OHV) use on desert lands can directly and indirectly lead to human health problems and impact soil, vegetation, and wildlife habitat. Soil pulverization and loosening caused by OHVs contribute to dust hazards, and to respiratory illnesses and diseases (e.g., valley fever) in adjacent, downwind communities.  Repeated soil compaction by OHVs can also degrade...

Date published: June 2, 2020
Status: Active

Remote Sensing of Biological Soil Crusts

Biological soil crusts (biocrusts, photoautotrophic soil surface communities comprised of cyanobacteria, algae, bryophytes, lichens, and fungi, occur in drylands globally where they contribute to ecosystem functioning by increasing soil stability, reducing dust emissions, and modifying soil resource availability (e.g., water, nutrients) (Fig 1.3.1). Despite increasing recognition and interest...

Contacts: Miguel Villarreal, PhD, Caroline Ann Havrilla, PhD
Date published: June 2, 2020
Status: Active

Remote Sensing of Invasive Annual Grasses

One of the major ecological consequences of increasing global connectivity is the introduction, establishment, and spread of non-native species into new ecosystems. The rate and extent of biological invasions continues to increase globally, often at considerable environmental and economic costs. Once established, non-native species can transform ecosystems, complicating land management...

Date published: June 2, 2020
Status: Active

Remote Sensing of Energy Development

Oil and gas development across the western United States has increased substantially in recent decades, including within the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado Plateau is a high desert region of grasslands, shrublands, and woodlands and is home to a large number of world-renowned national and tribal parks and monuments (e.g., Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, and...

Date published: May 28, 2020
Status: Active

Remote Sensing and Dryland Management

Drylands (areas characterized by low precipitation, high evapotranspiration, and low soil moisture) occupy around 40-45% of the earth’s surface. Many drylands contain high biodiversity and provide essential ecosystem services (e.g., livestock forage, agricultural production, pollination) for nearly 1/3 of the world’s population who live in drylands.  Given limited precipitation and other...

Date published: August 5, 2018
Status: Active

Global Hyperspectral Imaging Spectroscopy of Agricultural-Crops & Vegetation (GHISA)

This webpage showcases the key research advances made in hyperspectral remote sensing of agricultural crops and vegetation over the last 50 years. There are three focus areas:

Date published: May 23, 2018
Status: Active

Applied Landscape Ecology and Remote Sensing

We focus on landscape studies of natural and working lands, in particular coastal and inland wetlands and rangelands. We quantify ecosystem benefits, find areas vulnerable to future change, and identify potential for climate mitigation and resilience. We conduct research by scaling field measurements to the regional, state and national scale with remote sensing, geospatial analysis, and...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Patterns in the Landscape – Analyses of Cause and Effect

For two decades, USGS scientists with the Land Cover Trends team have used satellite data to study landscape change across the United States. Increasingly, research is focused on understanding why change occurs. Insights into the underlying causes of shifts in land use and land cover (LULC) will allow managers and stakeholders to make more informed...