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Land Cover Trends Dataset, 2000-2011

August 28, 2015

U.S. Geological Survey scientists, funded by the Climate and Land Use Change Research and Development Program, developed a dataset of 2006 and 2011 land use and land cover (LULC) information for selected 100-km2 sample blocks within 29 EPA Level 3 ecoregions across the conterminous United States. The data was collected for validation of new and existing national scale LULC datasets developed from remotely sensed data sources. The data can also be used with the previously published Land Cover Trends Dataset: 1973-2000 (http://, to assess land-use/land-cover change in selected ecoregions over a 37-year study period. \r\n\r\nLULC data for 2006 and 2011 was manually delineated using the same sample block classification procedures as the previous Land Cover Trends project. The methodology is based on a statistical sampling approach, manual classification of land use and land cover, and post-classification comparisons of land cover across different dates. Landsat Thematic Mapper, and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus imagery was interpreted using a modified Anderson Level I classification scheme. Landsat data was acquired from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) collection of images. For the 2006 and 2011 update, ecoregion specific alterations in the sampling density were made to expedite the completion of manual block interpretations. The data collection process started with the 2000 date from the previous assessment and any needed corrections were made before interpreting the next two dates of 2006 and 2011 imagery. The 2000 land cover was copied and any changes seen in the 2006 Landsat images were digitized into a new 2006 land cover image. Similarly, the 2011 land cover image was created after completing the 2006 delineation. \r\n\r\nResults from analysis of these data include ecoregion based statistical estimates of the amount of LULC change per time period, ranking of the most common types of conversions, rates of change, and percent composition. Overall estimated amount of change per ecoregion from 2001 to 2011 ranged from a low of 370 km2 in the Northern Basin and Range Ecoregion to a high of 78,782 km2 in the Southeastern Plains Ecoregion. The Southeastern Plains Ecoregion continues to encompass the most intense forest harvesting and regrowth in the country. Forest harvesting and regrowth rates in the southeastern U.S. and Pacific Northwest continued at late 20th century levels. The land use and land cover data collected by this study is ideally suited for training, validation, and regional assessments of land use and land cover change in the U.S. because it?s collected using manual interpretation techniques of Landsat data aided by high resolution photography. \r\n\r\nThe 2001-2011 Land Cover Trends Dataset is provided in an Albers Conical Equal Area projection using the NAD 1983 datum. The sample blocks have a 30-meter resolution and file names follow a specific naming convention that includes the number of the ecoregion containing the block, the block number, and the Landsat image year. The data files are organized by ecoregion, and are available in the ERDAS Imagine (.img) format.

Publication Year 2015
Title Land Cover Trends Dataset, 2000-2011
DOI 10.5066/F7DJ5CNT
Authors Kristi L Sayler, William Acevedo, Christopher E Soulard, Janis Taylor (CTR)
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center