Mission Areas

Land Resources

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Land Resource 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
Filter Total Items: 70
Date published: April 8, 2016

Ecology of Tidal Freshwater Forested Wetlands of the Southeastern United States

Tidal freshwater forested wetlands - TFFWs - can be found in the upper intertidal areas of many estuaries and act as a transition between coastal marshes and bottomland hardwood wetlands. However, it is because of their location that makes them vulnerable to sea-level rise, and they are constantly transitioning to different wetland types. USGS addresses how various processes are affected in...

Date published: April 8, 2016

Restoration of Climate Change-Induced Retreat of Tidally Influenced Freshwater Forested Wetlands

Wetlands in river deltas - like the Mississippi River Delta Plain - may be more vulnerable to sea-level rise. Historically, coastal wetlands responded to these changes by increasing surface elevation or migrating up-slope. USGS conducts research to identify the biogeochemical influences on sediment addition in coastal wetland areas. 

Date published: April 8, 2016

Factors Controlling Resilience and Resistance of Coastal Salt Marshes to Sudden Marsh Dieback

Sudden Marsh Dieback - SMD - has been documented for the past two decades throughout coastal areas of the United States. With these large-scale diebacks comes the loss of ecosystem functions and services. USGS scientsts use field work and greenhouse studies to investigate the factors that control the resilience and resistance of coastal salt marshes to SMD. 

Date published: April 7, 2016

Salinity Intrusion Impacts from Hurricane Sandy in Tidal Freshwater Swamps, Delmarva Peninsula, Mid-Atlantic Coast, USA

When it comes to hurricanes, wind and storm surge effect vegetation differently. USGS anlyzes these differences following Hurricane Sandy to help inform management on storm mitigation and long-term planning. 

Date published: April 7, 2016

Structural Equation Modeling in Support of Conservation

Understanding systems sometimes requires approaches that allow for both the discovery of the a system's structure and the estimation of its implications. Structural Equation Modeling - SEM - is one tool scientists use to better understand the complex world in which we live. 

Date published: April 7, 2016
Status: Active

Agassiz Glacier, 1913 - 2005

A view of Agassiz Glacier from Boulder Pass, Glacier NP.

Please respect the photographer: When using these photographs, please credit the photographer and source (eg. T.J. Hileman, courtesy of Glacier National Park Archives). The paired images at the top of this page are examples of proper crediting for each photo. 

To download images, select the Multimedia tab....

Contacts: Lisa McKeon
Date published: April 7, 2016

Surface Elevation Vulnerability of Coastal Forested Wetlands to Sea-Level Rise

Wetlands vary in their abilities to keep up with sea-level rise; they either adjust vertically and/or move inland. USGS is working with partners around the world to measure rates of surface elevation change relative to local sea-level rise. 

Date published: April 6, 2016
Status: Active

Repeat Photography Project

Climate change research in Glacier National Park, Montana entails many methods of documenting the landscape change, including the decline of the parks namesake glaciers. While less quantitative than other high-tech methods of recording glacial mass, depth, and rate of retreat, repeat photography has become a valuable tool for communicating effects of global warming. With evidence of worldwide...

Contacts: Lisa McKeon
Date published: April 6, 2016

Retreat of Glaciers in Glacier National Park

Worldwide glacial glacier recession is well documented (1,2) and varied model projections suggest that certain studied GNP glaciers will disappear in the next few decades, between 2030 (3) to 2080 (4).  USGS scientists in Glacier National Park are collaborating with glaciologist from Alaska and Washington and using...

Date published: April 6, 2016

Alpine Climatology of Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a topographically diverse region, making localized effects of elevation, aspect, and cold air drainage several of many important factors that necessitate a diversity of long-term climate monitoring sites. Additionally, many studies have shown more rapid warming at higher elevations across the Intermountain West, but with relatively few high-elevation stations available...

Date published: April 6, 2016

Landscape Change Photography

Repeat photography is being used by the CCME program to document landscape change. Glaciers have been the primary focus of this park-wide survey and this collection of repeat photographs, available for download on the CCME website, have been used to illustrate the effects of climate change in venues across the globe. These powerful images, with their inherent ease of interpretation, have...

Date published: April 5, 2016
Status: Active

Snow and Avalanche Research

Since 1991, CCME staff have conducted snow surveys throughout Glacier National Park. These data have contributed to regional climate change and hydrologic models. Snowpack characteristics have also been evaluated in relation to avalanche forecasting and plowing of GNP’s Going to the Sun Road efforts. Studies of natural snow avalanches reveal connections with large-scale climate and wildfire...

Filter Total Items: 135
Year Published: 2016

Wildfire risk as a socioecological pathology

Wildfire risk in temperate forests has become a nearly intractable problem that can be characterized as a socioecological “pathology”: that is, a set of complex and problematic interactions among social and ecological systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Assessments of wildfire risk could benefit from recognizing and...

Fischer, A. Paige; Spies, Thomas A; Steelman, Toddi A; Moseley, Cassandra; Johnson, Bart R.; Bailey, John D.; Ager, Alan A; Bourgeron, Patrick S.; Charnley, Susan; Collins, Brandon M.; Kline, Jeffrey D; Leahy, Jessica E; Littell, Jeremy; Millington, James D. A.; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Olsen, Christine S; Paveglio, Travis B; Roos, Christopher I.; Steen-Adams, Michelle M; Stevens, Forrest R; Vukomanovic, Jelena; White, Eric M; Bowman, David M J S

Year Published: 2016

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...

Zhu, Zhiliang; McGuire, A. David
Zhu, Zhiliang, and McGuire, A.D., eds., 2016, Baseline and projected future carbon storage and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1826, 196 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/pp1826.

Year Published: 2016

The social, economic, and environmental importance of inland fish and fisheries

Though reported capture fisheries are dominated by marine production, inland fish and fisheries make substantial contributions to meeting the challenges faced by individuals, society, and the environment in a changing global landscape. Inland capture fisheries and aquaculture contribute over 40% to the world’s reported finfish production...

Lynch, Abigail J.; Cooke, Steven J.; Deines, Andrew M.; Bower, Shannon D.; Bunnell, David B.; Cowx, Ian G.; Nguyen, Vivian M.; Nohner, Joel K.; Phouthavong, Kaviphone; Riley, Betsy; Rogers, Mark W.; Taylor, William W.; Woelmer, Whitney; Youn, So-Jung; Beard, T. Douglas
6) Lynch, A. J., S. J. Cooke, A. Deines, S. Bower, D. B, Bunnell, I. G. Cowx, V. M. Nguyen, J. Nonher, K. Phouthavong, B. Riley, M. W. Rogers, W. W. Taylor, W.M. Woelmer, S. Youn, T. D. Beard, Jr. 2016. The social, economic, and ecological importance of inland fishes and fisheries. Environmental Reviews. 24:1-8.

Year Published: 2016

A review of the relationships between drought and forest fire in the United States

The historical and pre-settlement relationships between drought and wildfire are well documented in North America, with forest fire occurrence and area clearly increasing in response to drought. There is also evidence that drought interacts with other controls (forest productivity, topography, fire weather, management activities) to affect fire...

Littell, Jeremy; Peterson, David L.; Riley, Karin L.; Yongquiang Liu; Luce, Charles H.

Year Published: 2016

An evaluation of 20th century climate for the Southeastern United States as simulated by Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) global climate models

The 20th century climate for the Southeastern United States and surrounding areas as simulated by global climate models used in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) was evaluated. A suite of statistics that characterize various aspects of the regional climate was calculated from both model simulations and observation-based...

David E. Rupp
Attribution: Land Resources
Rupp, D.E., 2016, An evaluation of 20th century climate for the Southeastern United States as simulated by Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) global climate models: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1047, 32 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161047.

Year Published: 2016

Landsat International Cooperators and Global Archive Consolidation

Landsat missions have always been an important component of U.S. foreign policy, as well as science and technology policy. The program’s longstanding network of International Cooperators (ICs), which operate numerous International Ground Stations (IGS) around the world, embodies the United States’ policy of peaceful use of outer space and the...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2016, Landsat International Cooperators and Global Archive Consolidation (ver. 1.1, November 2016): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016–3018, 2 p., http://doi.dx.org/10.3133/fs20163018.

Year Published: 2016

U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2015

2015 was another great year for the Department of the Interior (DOI) Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) network. The DOI CSCs and USGS NCCWSC continued their mission of providing the science, data, and tools that are needed for on-the-ground decision making...

Varela Minder, Elda; Padgett, Holly A.
Varela Minder, Elda, and Padgett, H.A., 2016, U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1043, 10 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161043.

Year Published: 2016

Semi-arid vegetation response to antecedent climate and water balance windows

Questions Can we improve understanding of vegetation response to water availability on monthly time scales in semi-arid environments using remote sensing methods? What climatic or water balance variables and antecedent windows of time associated with these variables best relate to the condition of vegetation? Can we develop credible near-term...

Thoma, David P.; Munson, Seth M.; Irvine, Kathryn M.; Witwicki, Dana L.; Bunting, Erin
Thoma, D.P., Munson, S.M., K.M. Irvine, Witwicki, D.L., and Bunting, E.L., 2016, Semi-arid vegetation response to antecedent climate and water balance windows: Applied Vegetation Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/avsc.12232 and http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/avsc.12232/full.

Year Published: 2016

Earth as art 4

Landsat 8 is the latest addition to the long-running series of Earth-observing satellites in the Landsat program that began in 1972. The images featured in this fourth installment of the Earth As Art collection were all acquired by Landsat 8. They show our planet’s diverse landscapes with remarkable clarity.Landsat satellites see the Earth as no...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2016, Earth as art 4: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 161, 20 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/gip161.

Year Published: 2016

Earth as art 4 bookmark

Images from Landsat 8, launched in 2013, already stand out as stellar additions to our popular Earth As Art series. We are proud to present the fourth collection—Earth As Art 4!

U.S. Geological Survey, 2016, Earth as art 4 bookmark: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 162, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/gip162.

Year Published: 2016

A hierarchical model of daily stream temperature using air-water temperature synchronization, autocorrelation, and time lags

Water temperature is a primary driver of stream ecosystems and commonly forms the basis of stream classifications. Robust models of stream temperature are critical as the climate changes, but estimating daily stream temperature poses several important challenges. We developed a statistical model that accounts for many challenges that can make...

Letcher, Benjamin; Hocking, Daniel; O'Neil, Kyle; Whiteley, Andrew R.; Nislow, Keith H.; O'Donnell, Matthew
Letcher BH, Hocking DJ, O’Neil K, Whiteley AR, Nislow KH, O’Donnell MJ. (2016) A hierarchical model of daily stream temperature using air-water temperature synchronization, autocorrelation, and time lags. PeerJ 4:e1727 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1727

Year Published: 2016

Quantifying pollen-vegetation relationships to reconstruct ancient forests using 19th-century forest composition and pollen data

Mitigation of climate change and adaptation to its effects relies partly on how effectively land-atmosphere interactions can be quantified. Quantifying composition of past forest ecosystems can help understand processes governing forest dynamics in a changing world. Fossil pollen data provide information about past forest composition, but rigorous...

Dawson, Andria; Paciorek, Christopher J.; McLachlan, Jason S.; Goring, Simon; Williams, John W.; Jackson, Stephen T.

Filter Total Items: 229
October 18, 2017

Landsat In Action - Monitoring Polar Ice Caps with Ted Scambos

Ted Scambos, Lead Scientist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center, talks about the roll of Landsat in his research studying polar regions.
 

October 18, 2017

Landsat In Action - Assessing Global Impact with Alan Belward

Alan Belward from the European Union's Joint Research Center discusses how Landsat helps his team promote sustainable development.
 

A boreal bog surrounded by grasses and plants with the sun setting in the background
October 17, 2017

Boreal bog in the Adirondack Park, New York

Boreal bog in the Adirondack Park, New York

October 16, 2017

Image of the Week - Wildfires Devastate California Wine Country

Strong winds are quickly spreading wildfire across California's wine country, as seen in these two Landsat 8 images.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov...

October 10, 2017

Global Mountain Explorer Video Tutorial

This video contains a narrated introduction to the Global Mountain Explorer, or GME. The GME is a web-based tool for visualizing and exploring three well known global mountain datalayers. The video tutorial provides background information on the three global mountain characterizations, and provides users with a walk through of all the functionality of the map exploration tool.
 

October 9, 2017

There’s a Hurricane A-comin’: A View from Space

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season has seen several hurricanes in a row during the months of August, September, and October. Follow along with this video to see satellite imagery of hurricanes and tropical storms during this time period. 

The satellite imagery featured in this video was created using data distributed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Land...

October 5, 2017

Image of the Week - Pine Island Glacier’s Newest Iceberg

These Landsat 8 images show the latest iceberg to break free in Antarctica's Pine Island. Warmer ocean waters are melting the ice from beneath, causing increasing instability.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (...

September 29, 2017

Image of the Week - Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Landsat 8 imagery shows the change in vegetation on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

September 19, 2017

Landsat Collections — What are Tiers?

This is the third video in a series describing the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through time and across all Landsat sensors. This video explains how Landsat Collection Level-1 data products are organized into one...

September 19, 2017

Image of the Week - Irma Churns Up Sediment in the Florida Keys

Hurricane Irma churned up sediment around the Florida keys as shown by these Landsat images.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

September 15, 2017

Image of the Week: Hurricane Irma Slams Barbuda

Hurricane Irma's full force hit the small island of Barbuda, damaging estimated 95% of structures.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

Virginia Burkett
September 14, 2017

USGS scientist Virginia Burkett

USGS scientist Virginia Burkett

Attribution: Land Resources
Filter Total Items: 185
Date published: January 17, 2017

Turning the Tide on the Chesapeake Bay

Richard Batiuk got to know the Chesapeake Bay in the early 1970s. During visits with his friends and family, they would swim and boat, and fish would practically jump aboard. He was young but knew he wanted to live and work on the bay.

Date published: January 12, 2017

New Tool Shows Historic and Simulated Future Water Conditions in the U.S.

Water users around the country can now view the past and simulated future of hydrologic processes. 

Date published: December 22, 2016

EarthView–Expansion at the Port of Rotterdam

In our last EarthView of 2016, you can see the port of Rotterdam grow by 5,000 acres!

Date published: December 15, 2016

Warmer Ocean Waters Seen to Spur Drought in Africa

Monitoring drought vital to success of humanitarian relief

Date published: December 4, 2016

EarthView–Landsat Chronicles Deforestation in Colombia

This EarthView from Landsat shows deforestation in Colombia between 1989 and 2016.

Date published: December 3, 2016

EarthView–Saudi Wheat Experiment Relied on Fossil Water

This EarthView shows how fossil water is used for agriculture in Saudi Arabia.

Date published: November 28, 2016

Safeguarding Our Cultural Past from Future Climate Change: Stories from Jamestown

The Interior Department’s Climate Science Centers, managed by USGS, are helping the NPS pinpoint the specific impacts of climate change on parks and their cultural and natural resources. Doing so will help managers answer a critical question: which resources will require human intervention to ensure their continued existence?

Date published: November 18, 2016

Safeguarding Our Cultural Past from Future Climate Change: Stories from Cape Lookout National Seashore

The Interior Department’s Climate Science Centers, managed by USGS, are helping the National Park Service pinpoint the specific impacts of climate change on parks and their cultural and natural resources. Doing so will help managers answer a critical question: which resources will require human intervention to ensure their continued existence?