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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: 69
Date published: August 1, 2016
Status: Active

Hurricane Sandy Impacts on Coastal Wetland Resilience in the Northeast United States

The Challenge: The high winds and storm surge associated with Hurricane Sandy impacted coastal wetlands from Virginia to Maine. Understanding the ecological and geological impacts of hurricanes on coastal wetlands and their interactive effects with local conditions is important for identifying resilience of these communities to predicted global sea-level rise. Given the projected increase in...

Date published: July 26, 2016

National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects

The National Park Service (NPS) manages the Nation’s most iconic destinations that attract millions of visitors from across the Nation and around the world. Trip-related spending by NPS visitors generates and supports a considerable amount of economic activity within park gateway communities. USGS economists collaborate with the National Park Service social science program to estimate NPS...

Date published: July 20, 2016

Assessment of Wetland Area Change and Shoreline Erosion Due to Hurricane Sandy

Significant damage to coastal communities and surrounding wetlands of the north Atlantic states was caused by Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012, mostly tied to an associated storm surge of record extent and impact.

Date published: June 27, 2016

National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center Tools

Information Science staff help the National Office of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Centers and individual Climate Science Centers with a variety of project and data management activities, including storing, managing, and distributing datasets; building and maintaining metadata; discovering datasets; and delivering their data and metadata as web services through various...

Date published: June 2, 2016

Natural Resources Assessment of Tribal Lands Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

USGS is committed to meeting the science needs of four Native American Tribes impacted by Hurricane Sandy in New England and New York: the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head - Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard, MA; the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Cape Cod, MA; the Narragansett Indian Tribe near Charlestown, RI; and the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island.

Contacts: Kathryn Spear
Date published: June 2, 2016
Status: Active

A Climate Change Adaptation Plan in Response to Sea Level Rise for the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana

This project will create a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana (Chitimacha), serving as an implementable plan for coastal community adaptation to climate change that can be used as a model in other small communities.

Contacts: Kathryn Spear
Date published: May 11, 2016

Impacts of Sea Level Rise & Ecosystem Restoration on Wildlife

The interior marshes of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge (TTINWR) are currently negatively impacted by sea level rise through saltwater intrusion from the south which furthers mangrove encroachment into the freshwater marsh.

Date published: May 11, 2016

Wildlife Indicators of Greater Everglades Restoration Progress, Climate Change, and Shifts in Ecosystem Service

As Greater Everglades restoration project implementation progresses, wetlands in near coastal areas may undergo changes in salinity, hydroperiod, and water depth.

Date published: May 11, 2016

Rate and Process of Mangrove Forest Expansion on Carbon Relations in Coastal Louisiana

Field observations over recent decades have confirmed mangrove expansion landward in tropical zones and poleward in temperate saltmarsh settings around the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Date published: May 11, 2016

Effect of Hurricane Wrack Deposition on Coastal Marsh Surface Elevation Change

Storm surge waves and tides of hurricanes have the propensity to wash up marsh detritus of dead reeds and leaf debris along with plastic trash and lumber, commonly referred to as wrack, from overwashed beaches, marshes, forests, streets, and lawns.

Date published: May 9, 2016

Global Change and Conservation Triage on National Wildlife Refuges

As custodians of ecological goods and services valued by society, coastal National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) have an especially important role to play in helping socio-ecological systems adapt to global-change processes.

Date published: May 5, 2016

Climate Change in Mountain Ecosystems (CCME)

Climate change is widely acknowledged to be having a profound effect on the biosphere with many and diverse impacts on global resources. Mountain ecosystems in the western U.S. and the Northern Rockies in particular are highly sensitive to climate change. In fact, the higher elevations of the Northern Rockies have experienced three times the global average temperature increase over the past...

Filter Total Items: 135
Year Published: 2017

Biogeography: An interweave of climate, fire, and humans

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) is an icon of the southeastern United States and has been considered a foundation species in forests, woodlands, and savannas of the region (Schwarz 1907; Platt 1999). Longleaf pine is an avatar for the extensive pine-dominated, fire-dependent ecosystems (Figure 2.1) that provide habitats for thousands of species...

Stambaugh, Michael C.; Varner, J. Morgan; Jackson, Stephen T.

Year Published: 2017

A synthesis of thresholds for focal species along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts: A review of research and applications

The impacts from climate change are increasing the possibility of vulnerable coastal species and habitats crossing critical thresholds that could spur rapid and possibly irreversible changes. For species of high conservation concern, improved knowledge of quantitative thresholds could greatly improve management. To meet this need, we synthesized...

Powell, Emily J.; Tyrrell, Megan C.; Milliken, Andrew; Tirpak, John M.; Staudinger, Michelle D.

Year Published: 2017

Snow and ice: Chapter 3

Temperature and precipitation are key determinants of snowpack levels. Therefore, climate change is likely to affect the role of snow and ice in the landscapes and hydrology of the Chugach National Forest region.Downscaled climate projections developed by Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP) are useful for examining projected...

Hayward, Gregory D.; Colt, Steve; McTeague, Monica L.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Littell, Jeremy; McAfee, Stephanie A.; O'Neel, Shad; Sass, Louis; Burgess, Evan; Colt, Steve; Clark, Paul
Littell, JS, S McAfee, S O'Neel, L Sass, E Burgess, S Colt, and P Clark. 2017. Chapter 3: Snow and Ice. In Hayward, GD, S Colt, ML McTeague, and TN Hollingsowrth, eds. 2017. Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chugach National Forest and the Kenai Peninsula. US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station General Technical Report PNW-GTR-950

Year Published: 2017

Global synthesis of the documented and projected effects of climate change on inland fishes

Although climate change is an important factor affecting inland fishes globally, a comprehensive review of how climate change has impacted and will continue to impact inland fishes worldwide does not currently exist. We conducted an extensive, systematic primary literature review to identify English-language, peer-reviewed journal publications...

Myers, Bonnie; Lynch, Abigail; Bunnell, David; Chu, Cindy ; Falke, Jeffrey A.; Kovach, Ryan; Krabbenhoft, Trevor J. ; Kwak, Thomas J.; Paukert, Craig P.
Myers, B.J.E., Lynch, A.J., Bunnell, D.B. et al. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries (2017) 27: 339. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-017-9476-z

Year Published: 2017

U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2016

Introduction2016 was an exciting year for the Department of the Interior (DOI) Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC). In recognition of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and provide the scientific data and tools needed to address the impacts of climate...

Weiskopf, Sarah R.; Varela Minder, Elda; Padgett, Holly A.
Weiskopf, S.R., Varela Minder, Elda, and Padgett, H.A., 2017, U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1033, 12 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171033.

Year Published: 2017

Five-year external reviews of the eight Department of Interior Climate Science Centers: Southeast Climate Science Center

In 2008, the U.S. Congress authorized the establishment of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) within the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI). Housed administratively within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NCCWSC is part of the DOI’s ongoing mission to meet the challenges of climate change and its effects on...

Austen, Douglas; Harrison, Sarah; Rice, Kenneth G.; Beier, Paul; Breault, Tim; Middleton, Beth A.; Peck, Myron A.; Tirpak, John M.; Ratnaswamy, Mary
Rice, K., P. Beier, T. Breault, B. A. Middleton, M. A. Peck, J. Tirpak, and M. Ratnaswamy. 2017. Five-year external reviews of the eight Department of Interior Climate Science Centers: Southeast Climate Science Center. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

Year Published: 2017

Five-year external reviews of the eight Department of Interior Climate Science Centers: Alaska Climate Science Center

This report primarily addresses the first two purposes of the review while providing comments on the third as identified by the science review team (SRT). A separate report of recommendations for the recompetition, based upon compiled observation from all three reviews conducted in 2016, was submitted to NCCWSC on April 15, 2016 to assist with the...

Shasby, Mark; Dolloff, C. Andrew; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Marcot, Bruce G.; McCarl, Bruce; McMahon, Gerard; Morton, John M.
Attribution: Land Resources
Shasby, M. B., C. A. Dolloff, J. A. Hicke, B. G. Marcot, B. McCarl, G. McMahon, and J. M. Morton. 2017. Five-year external reviews of the eight Department of Interior Climate Science Centers: Alaska Climate Science Center. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

Year Published: 2017

Vulnerabilities to climate change of Massachusetts animal species of greatest conservation need

Over the last decade, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has addressed the potential and actual impacts of climate change on state flora and fauna. The state’s involvement began in 2007 when, led by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) and assisted by Manomet Center for Con-servation Research, it carried out one of the first habitat...

Galbraith, Hector; Morelli, Toni L.

Year Published: 2017

Grand challenges in the management and conservation of North American inland fishes and fisheries

Even with long-standing management and extensive science support, North American inland fish and fisheries still face many conservation and management challenges. We used a grand challenges approach to identify critical roadblocks that if removed would help solve important problems in the management and long-term conservation of North American...

Lynch, Abigail; Cooke, Steven J.; Beard, Douglas; Kao, Yu-Chun; Lorenzen, Kai; Song, Andrew M.; Allen, Micheal S.; Basher, Zeenatul; Bunnell, David B.; Camp, Edward V.; Cowx, Ian G.; Freedman, Jonathan A.; Nguyen, Vivian M.; Nohner, Joel K.; Rogers, Mark W.; Siders, Zachary A.; Taylor, William W.; Youn, So-Jung

Year Published: 2017

Climate change and the eco-hydrology of fire: Will area burned increase in a warming western USA?

Wildfire area is predicted to increase with global warming. Empirical statistical models and process-based simulations agree almost universally. The key relationship for this unanimity, observed at multiple spatial and temporal scales, is between drought and fire. Predictive models often focus on ecosystems in which this relationship appears to be...

McKenzie, Donald; Littell, Jeremy
McKenzie, D. and Littell, J. S. (2017), Climate change and the eco-hydrology of fire: Will area burned increase in a warming western USA?. Ecol Appl, 27: 26–36. doi:10.1002/eap.1420

Year Published: 2017

Comparing stream-specific to generalized temperature models to guide salmonid management in a changing climate

Global climate change is predicted to increase air and stream temperatures and alter thermal habitat suitability for growth and survival of coldwater fishes, including brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). In a changing climate, accurate stream temperature modeling is increasingly...

Andrew K. Carlson; William W. Taylor; Hartikainen, Kelsey M. ; Dana M. Infante; Beard, Douglas; Lynch, Abigail
Carlson, A. K., W. W. Taylor, K. M. Schlee, D. M. Infante, T. D. Beard, Jr., A. J. Lynch. 2017. Comparing stream-specific to generalized temperature models to guide salmonid management in a changing climate. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 27(2):443-462.

Year Published: 2017

Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems

The current impacts of humanity on nature are rapid and destructive, but species turnover and change have occurred throughout the history of life. Although there is much debate about the best approaches to take in conservation, ultimately, we need to permit or enhance the resilience of natural systems so that they can continue to adapt and...

Barnosky, Anthony D.; Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Head, Jason; Gonzalez, Patrick; Polly, P. David; Lawing, A. Michelle; Eronen, Jussi T.; Ackerly, David D.; Alex, Ken; Biber, Eric; Blois, Jessica L.; Brashares, Justin; Ceballos, Gerardo; Davis, Edward; Dietl, Gregory P.; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Doremus, Holly; Fortelius, Mikael; Greene, Harry W.; Hellmann, Jessica; Hickler, Thomas; Jackson, Stephen T.; Kemp, Melissa; Koch, Paul L.; Kremen, Claire; Lindsey, Emily L.; Looy, Cindy; Marshall, Charles R.; Mendenhall, Chase; Mulch, Andreas; Mychajliw, Alexis M.; Nowak, Carsten; Ramakrishnan, Uma; Schnitzler, Jan; Das Shrestha, Kashish; Solari, Katherine; Stegner, Lynn; Stegner, M. Allison; Stenseth, Nils Chr.; Wake, Marvalee H.; Zhang, Zhibin
Barnosky A.D., Hadly E.A., Gonzalez P., Head J., Polly P.D., Lawing A.M., Eronen J.T., Ackerly D.D., Alex K., Biber E., Blois J., Brashares J., Ceballos G., Davis E., Dietl G.P., Dirzo R., Doremus H., Fortelius M., Greene H.W., Hellmann J., Hickler T., Jackson S.T., Kemp M., Koch P.L., Kremen C., Lindsey E.L., Looy C., Marshall C.R., Mendenhall C., Mulch A., Mychajliw A.M., Nowak C., Ramakrishnan U., Schnitzler J., Das Shrestha K., Solari K., Stegner L., Stegner M.A., Stenseth N.Chr., Wake M.H., Zhang Z. Conserving Terrestrial Ecosystems On A Rapidly Changing Planet Science 10 Feb 2017: Vol. 355, Issue 6325, eaah4787

Filter Total Items: 229
Satellite images showing the new ski runs at the 2018 Olympics.
February 12, 2018

Olympic Skiing and Land Change

Images from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) onboard NASA's Terra satellite show how one area in South Korea transformed from mountainous forest to a world-class downhill skiing venue to get ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

February 9, 2018

Landsat 8 Completes 5 Years of Operation

USGS Scientists John Dwyer and Tom Loveland from EROS discuss the major accomplishments of Landsat 8 as it reaches it's 5 year design life. The Landsat program started in 1972, and has a bright future thanks to these extraordinary satellites.

February 8, 2018

Image of the Week - Theewaterskloof Reservoir, South Africa

The Theewaterskloof Reservoir near Cape Town, South Africa is drying up as a result of a growing population and several dry years. Now at 13% capacity, the shortage could reach a crisis if the rainy season doesn't replenish water supplies.

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

February 5, 2018

Landsat in Action - Monitoring Crop Land with Martha Anderson

Martha Anderson with the US Department of Agriculture talks about the value of Landsat and its thermal data in studying agricultural land.

February 1, 2018

Landsat 8: 5-Year Anniversary

February 11 will mark the 5th anniversary of the launch of Landsat 8! 

Since 2013, over 1.1 million scenes have been acquired, adding to the Landsat archive which started almost 45 years ago, and continue to help support studies in agriculture, forest and water quality/use/management, natural disasters, and land change. 

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing...

January 31, 2018

Image of the Week - Oil Fires in Iraq

Satellite images of the Hamrin Mountains in Iraq show burning oil wells. As ISIS is driven from the area, they are setting these wells on fire.

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://...

January 30, 2018

Landsat in Action - Minnesota Lakes with Leif Olmanson

Leif Olmanson from the University of Minnesota talks about the value of Landsat data in monitoring the thousands of lakes in Minnesota.

South African reservoirs, Western Cape Region, Landsat 2014
January 28, 2018

This Landsat 2014 image shows reservoirs in South Africa.

Water levels in large reservoirs in South Africa’s Western Cape province have been impacted by persistent drought in recent years. This Landsat 2014 image shows the Theewaterskloof reservoir, the largest in the province’s water supply system. In subsequent years, water levels have dropped significantly as seasonal rains have repeatedly failed.

January 19, 2018

Landsat in Action - Free & Open Landsat Archive with Barbara Ryan

Barbara Ryan, Director of GEO talks about the distribution of Landsat data, starting in 1972, and ultimately transitioning to the free and open policy of today.

January 17, 2018

Image of the Week - Update on Pine Island Glacier

Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier has calved another iceberg. These Landsat images show the progression since just before the break in September until now.

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 (...

January 16, 2018

Landsat in Action - Monitoring Canada's Forest with Mike Wulder

Mike Wulder with Canada's Forest Service talks about the value Landsat images have for mapping and monitoring Canada's forested areas.

Volcanic plume, Kamchatka Peninsula, Landat 8, 2018
January 10, 2018

Plume on Kamchatka peak belies volcanic activity, Landsat 2018

At least 300 active volcanoes dot the Kamchatka Peninsula, which lies along the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire. Landsat 8 caught this plume of ash and smoke streaming from one of these volcanooes--Klyuchevskaya--on January 10, 2018.

Filter Total Items: 185
Date published: November 8, 2017

Media Advisory: Pecora 20 Conference on New Trends in Remote Sensing

Monitoring our changing planet is critical to supporting a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. Observing the Earth from space offers unprecedented levels of data and a holistic view, which enables scientists to detect the most critical trends in natural resource conditions at local and global scales.

Date published: October 24, 2017

New Tool Allows Users to Explore Mountains Worldwide

A new tool that gives users the most detailed view yet of the world’s mountains is now available from the USGS. And it’s as close as your computer or cellphone.

Date published: October 5, 2017

Scientists Ground Truth What Influences Hurricanes

Scientists looked back 10 to 13 thousand years to gain real-world insight into the environmental factors that influence hurricanes near Florida and, by extension, the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Date published: September 18, 2017

Tracking the Bad Guys: Toxic Algal Blooms

Every few days, a fleet of satellites orbiting 700 kilometers above the Earth scans the continental United States to help keep Americans safe. But these eyes in the sky aren’t seeking terrorists or enemy combatants: they scrutinize lakes to locate problems of the microbial variety, namely cyanobacteria.

Date published: September 14, 2017

New USGS Report Uncovers the Underground Geology Along the Rio Grande

A new U.S. Geological Survey report describes the below ground geology of the Rio Grande transboundary region of New Mexico and Texas, United States, and northern Chihuahua, Mexico.

Date published: August 10, 2017

Study Links Major Floods in North America and Europe to Multi-Decade Ocean Patterns

The number of major floods in natural rivers across Europe and North America has not increased overall during the past 80 years, a recent study has concluded. Instead researchers found that the occurrence of major flooding in North America and Europe often varies with North Atlantic Ocean temperature patterns.

Date published: July 20, 2017

USGS Now Archiving, Redistributing Indian Resourcesat Data

Resourcesat data that are important for understanding changes associated with agriculture, forestry, phenology, and other applications are now available in the USGS archive.

Date published: July 12, 2017

Flexibility in Behavior of Some Animals Helps Them Accommodate a Changing Climate

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners has identified situations and conditions where some animals display behavioral flexibility – the ability to rapidly change behavior in response to short – or long-term environmental changes such as climate variability. 

Date published: June 26, 2017

Peering into the Future of Agricultural Change

What would it take to produce a billion tons of biomass for fuel production? 

Date published: June 12, 2017

Water is Life for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

For the Swinomish people of northwestern Washington, water is life. But this symbiotic relationship between man and nature has been disrupted, and increasingly threatened, by sea-level rise and changes in Northwestern storm and rainfall patterns.

Date published: June 5, 2017

New USGS Science Plan Designed to Help Plan for Drought Effects on People, Communities, and Ecosystems

The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.

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