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Conterminous United States Land Cover Projections - 1992 to 2100

September 27, 2018

The USGS's FORE-SCE model was used to produce land-use and land-cover (LULC) projections for the conterminous United States. The projections were originally created as part of the "LandCarbon" project, an effort to understand biological carbon sequestration potential in the United States. However, the projections are being used for a wide variety of purposes, including analyses of the effects of landscape change on biodiversity, water quality, and regional weather and climate. The year 1992 served as the baseline for the landscape modeling. The 1992 to 2005 period was considered the historical baseline, with datasets such as the National Land Cover Database (NLCD), USGS Land Cover Trends, and US Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture used to guide the recreation of historical land cover for this period. 2006 to 2100 was considered the future projection time frame. Four scenarios were modeled for 2006 to 2100, corresponding to four major scenario storylines from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). The global IPCC SRES (A1B, A2, B1, and B2 scenarios) were downscaled to ecoregions in the conterminous United States, with the USGS Forecasting Scenarios of land use (FORE-SCE) model used to produce landscape projections consistent with the IPCC SRES. The land-use scenarios focused on socioeconomic impacts on anthropogenic land use (demographics, energy use, agricultural economics, and other socioeconomic considerations). The projections provided here are characterized by: 1) 250-meter spatial resolution (250-m pixels) 2) 17 land-cover classes, similar to classes from NLCD 3) Annual land cover maps from 1992 to 2100 4) Spatial coverage for the entire conterminous United States 5) An additional "forest stand age" layer for both the historical period (1992-2005) and the projected period (2006-2100). These data mark age in years since last land-use change or disturbance for forest pixels. Data are provided here for 1) the historical 1992 to 2005 period, and 2) for each of the four scenarios from 2006 to 2100. 10 .zip files are available for download, 5 representing land-use and land-cover maps for both the historical period and the four future scenarios, and 5 representing forest stand age. Each zip file contains GeoTIFF files with annual maps for the given timeframe. The metadata associated with this data release provides a key for identifying file names associated with each of the .zip files, as well as definitions for the 17 land-cover classes. A further description of these data can be found at: Sohl, T.L., Sayler, K.L., Bouchard, M.A., Reker, R.R., Freisz, A.M., Bennett, S.L., Sleeter, B.M., Sleeter, R.R., Wilson, T., Soulard, C., Knuppe, M., and Van Hofwegen, T, 2014, Spatially explicit modeling of 1992 to 2100 land cover and forest stand age for the conterminous United States. Ecological Applications 24(5):1115-1136.