Land cover and its spatial patterns are key ingredients in ecological studies that consider large regions and the impacts of human activities. Because land-cover maps show only cover types and their locations, further processing is needed to extract pattern information and to characterize its spatial variability. We are producing a nationally consistent spatial database of six land-cover pattern indices: forest area density, forest connectivity, the U index (a measure of general land-use pressure by humans), land-cover connectivity, land-cover diversity, and landscape pattern types. We use the land-cover maps produced by the Multi-resolution Land Characteristics Consortium for the conterminous United States at 30-m resolution. The goal of this paper is to encourage use of the pattern data as: contextual information and independent variables for studies involving a set of field sites; indicators of landscape conditions for ecological assessments; and dependent variables in biogeographic and socioeconomic models. The new maps will be most useful in studies that require consistent and comparable land-cover pattern measurements over large regions and can be combined with the original land-cover maps and other data.
|Title||National land-cover pattern data|
|Authors||Kurt H. Riitters, James D. Wickham, James Vogelmann, K. Bruce Jones|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center|