Mission Areas

Climate and Land Use Change

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Climate and Land Use science is essential to improve understanding of past and present change; develop relevant forecasts; and identify those lands, resources, and communities most vulnerable to Earth system change processes.

Our Science Strategy
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Field observations of extreme sedimentation events
March 22, 2016

Sediment deposition serves an important role in the long-term maintenance of coastal marshes. USGS investigates the mechanisms of coastal marsh elevation regulation to help predict marsh sediment requirements under various sea level rise scenarios. ...

Understanding host-parasite and parasite consumer trophic relationships
March 22, 2016

Marine reserves and protected areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico encompass a variety of tropical ecosystems, including coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds, but questions remain regarding how effective these areas are at preserving and protecting the habitats and species they encompass. USGS and collaborators address this question by examining the biodiversity and food web...

Sediment Elevation Table assembly and field shelter, Dongting Lake, China
March 18, 2016

Dongting Lake, one of the wetlands that make up the floodplains of China's Yangtze River, is important habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. However, the re-engineering of the water way and the intensification of agricultural practices has contributed to changes in hydrology and sedimentation. USGS and partners from China are assessing the potential impact of these...

A Decision Support Tool for Repatriation of Aquatic Fauna: A Case Study Involving the Striped Newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus) a
April 17, 2015

The Striped Newt is a small salamander found in xeric habitats (e.g., scrub, sandhill, dry flatwoods) of the lower coastal plain and northern peninsular Florida. Though once considered "common," they are currently a candidate species for federal listing. ...

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Avalanche forecasters ski out to investigate the crown of a large wet slab avalanche in Haystack Creek drainage. This drainage i
2016 (approx.)
Avalanche forecasters ski out to investigate the crown of a large wet slab avalanche in Haystack Creek drainage. This drainage is one of the largest avalanche paths affecting the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.
Black-throated gray warbler
2016 (approx.)
Black-throated gray warbler at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon.
Varied thrush
2016 (approx.)
Varied thrush at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon.
Old growth forest
2016 (approx.)
Old growth forest at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon, old growth forests have bigger trees and a more complex understory.
Hermit warbler
2016 (approx.)
Black-throated green warbler at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon.
February 18, 2016
USGS scientist shoots a repeat photograph of Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park to illustrate glacial recession due to impacts of climate change.
Hawaiian volcanoes, image of the week
February 9, 2016
Three images showing Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes on the island of Hawaii; 2016 satellite image mosaic
Scientists Collecting Arctic Sediments
2015 (approx.)
Scientists aboard USCGC Healy prepare to collect sediments from the Chukchi that will be used to reconstruct sea-ice history in the Arctic. USGS Image (L. Gemery).
Collecting permafrost information on the Tahana River
2015 (approx.)
David Pelunis-Messier and Milton Roberts navigating on the Tanana River, a main tributary of the Yukon River. The two are taking part in the Yukon River permafrost study.
USGS scientist Layne Adams places a radiocollar on a sedated large bull caribou in Denali National Park, Alaska
2015 (approx.)
USGS scientist Layne Adams places a radiocollar on a sedated large bull caribou in Denali National Park, Alaska.
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An American pika collects grass and flowers to stockpile its winter food supplies.
August 25, 2016

American pikas – small herbivores that typically live in rocky slopes, known as talus, across many mountain ranges in the American West – are disappearing from some locations across the West due to climate change, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and some of its partners.

Catawba rhododendron blooming at Round Bald, NC
August 11, 2016

“From the mountains to the coast, the southeastern U.S. contains ecosystems that harbor incredible biodiversity. Many of those ecosystems are already highly at risk from urbanization and other human land-use change. Identifying the ecosystems at risk from climate change will help inform conservation and management to ensure we don’t lose that biodiversity.” (Jennifer Constanza, report author)

Grizzly Bears and Wolves
August 10, 2016

Natural and cultural areas that will remain similar to what they are today -- despite climate change -- need to be identified, managed and conserved as “refugia” for at-risk species, according to a study published today in PLOS One. The study sets out, for the first time, specific steps to help identify and manage these more resilient and climate-stable havens for plants, animals and fishes.

A landscape view of the drylands of southern Utah
August 9, 2016

U.S. Geological Survey scientists will present their research at the Ecological Society of America meeting from Aug. 7-12, 2016, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The theme is "Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene." 

Claudia Regan
August 3, 2016

New Center Director to sustain NOROCK’s tradition of productivity and partnership in generating ground-breaking science relevant to resource managers in the Northern Rocky Mountains and beyond.