Land Change Science Program
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The Land Change Science (LCS) Program strives to understand the Nation's most pressing environmental, natural resource, and economic challenges. Significant support is also provided to acquire and model the comprehensive land cover information which is essential in a wide variety of investigations.Visit Our Website
The surface of the earth is a dynamic patchwork of natural and cultural landscapes that regularly shifts due to changes resulting from natural phenomena and human activities. Land Change Science strives to study the spatial patterns, processes and consequences of these changes in land use, land condition and land cover.Explore Science
Risk and vulnerability studies that seek to improve the scientific basis for assessments and develop quantitative, qualitative, geospatial decision support tools that characterize and communicate the vulnerability of both human communities and natural ecosystems.
Researchers develop spatially-explicit models of ecosystem extent and functioning, and methodologies for the assessment of ecosystem goods and services, with an emphasis on understanding how they respond to changing landscape and climatic conditions.
Scientific study of land use and land cover change at multiple scales, documenting geographic variability of change and defining the environmental, social, technological, and political drivers of change, as well as assessing the impacts of these changes.
A few of our recent publications, for a more comprehensive list please visit the LCS publications database that allows you to search by year, author’s last name, keywords, and publication type.Search LCS Publications
Baseline and projected future carbon storage and carbon fluxes in ecosystems of Hawai‘i
This assessment was conducted to fulfill the requirements of section 712 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and to improve understanding of factors influencing carbon balance in ecosystems of Hawai‘i. Ecosystem carbon storage, carbon fluxes, and carbon balance were examined for major terrestrial ecosystems on the seven main...
Baseline and projected future carbon storage and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of Alaska
This assessment was conducted to fulfill the requirements of section 712 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and to contribute to knowledge of the storage, fluxes, and balance of carbon and methane gas in ecosystems of Alaska. The carbon and methane variables were examined for major terrestrial ecosystems (uplands and wetlands) and...
Evaluating Coastal Landscape Response to Sea-Level Rise in the Northeastern United States—Approach and Methods
The U.S. Geological Survey is examining effects of future sea-level rise on the coastal landscape from Maine to Virginia by producing spatially explicit, probabilistic predictions using sea-level projections, vertical land movement rates (due to isostacy), elevation data, and land-cover data. Sea-level-rise scenarios used as model inputs are...Erika E. Lentz, Sawyer R. Stippa, E. Robert Thieler, Nathaniel G. Plant, Dean B. Gesch, and Radley M. Horton
Climate change and wildfire risk in an expanding wildland–urban interface: a case study from the Colorado Front Range Corridor
We projected the spatial pattern of the WUI and its associated wildfire risk from 2005 to 2050 at 90-m spatial resolution and 5-year intervals in Colorado Front Range using CHANGE, a landscape change model that simulates land cover and land use change, natural vegetation dynamics, and wildfire in a unified framework. A total of four scenarios from...Zhihua Liu, Michael C. Wimberly, Aashis Lamsal, Terry L. Sohl, Todd J. Hawbaker
Quantitative attribution of major driving forces on soil organic carbon dynamics
Soil organic carbon (SOC) storage plays a major role in the global carbon cycle and is affected by many factors including land use/management changes (e.g., biofuel production-oriented changes). However, the contributions of various factors to SOC changes are not well understood and quantified. This study was designed to investigate the impacts of...Wu, Y., Liu, S., and Tan, Z.
A new map of global ecological land units—An ecophysiographic stratification approach
In response to the need and an intergovernmental commission for a high resolution and data-derived global ecosystem map, land surface elements of global ecological pattern were characterized in an ecophysiographic stratification of the planet. The stratification produced 3,923 terrestrial ecological land units (ELUs) at a base resolution of 250...Sayre, Roger; Dangermond, Jack; Frye, Charlie; Vaughan, Randy; Aniello, Peter; Breyer, Sean; Cribbs, Douglas; Hopkins, Dabney; Nauman, Richard; Derrenbacher, William; Wright, Dawn; Brown, Clint; Convis, Charles; Smith, Jonathan H.; Benson, Laurence; Van Sistine, Darren; Warner, Harumi; Cress, Jill Janene; Danielson, Jeffrey J.; Hamann, Sharon L.; Cecere, Thomas; Reddy, Ashwan D.; Burton, Devon; Grosse, Andrea; True, Diane; Metzger, Marc; Hartmann, Jens; Moosdorf, Nils; Durr, Hans; Paganini, Marc; Defourny, Pierre; Arino, Olivier; Maynard, Simone; Anderson, Mark; Comer, Patrick
USGS scientist Burke Minsley and project partners from the U. Alaska Fairbanks lay ground cable to measure permafrost depth at Nome Creek site north of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Budget Focuses on Core USGS Science and Efficiency
The world’s oceans are vital to life on Earth. They provide food, moderate the climate, water the land, and drive the local and global economy. But the living conditions and resources in the enormous water masses of the open ocean have been mostly unknown and unmapped.
While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.
Hours before Japan was struck by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and the ensuing catastrophic tsunami, John Schelling spoke at a public meeting in the coastal community of Oceans Shores, Washington, about preparing for tsunami hazards. The few dozen people attending the meeting went home that evening and watched in horror as the events in Japan unfolded.
Monitoring drought vital to success of humanitarian relief
Fate of Alaska's large carbon reserves could affect greenhouse gas concentration.
The U.S. Geological Survey is celebrating the success of three distinguished researchers who are recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest recognition granted by the United States government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their research careers.