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National land-cover pattern data

February 1, 2000

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.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2000
Title National land-cover pattern data
DOI 10.1890/0012-9658(2000)081[0604:NLCPD]2.0.CO;2
Authors Kurt H. Riitters, James D. Wickham, James Vogelmann, K. Bruce Jones
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70230879
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center