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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
Status: Active

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: 140
Year Published: 2017

Modeling global Hammond landform regions from 250-m elevation data

In 1964, E.H. Hammond proposed criteria for classifying and mapping physiographic regions of the United States. Hammond produced a map entitled “Classes of Land Surface Form in the Forty-Eight States, USA”, which is regarded as a pioneering and rigorous treatment of regional physiography. Several researchers automated Hammond?s model in GIS....

Karagulle, Deniz; Frye, Charlie; Sayre, Roger; Breyer, Sean P.; Aniello, Peter; Vaughan, Randy; Wright, Dawn J.
Attribution: Land Resources
Karagulle, D., C. Frye, R. Sayre, S. Breyer, P. Aniello, R. Vaughan, and D. Wright. 2017. Modeling global Hammond landform regions from 250-m elevation data. Transactions in GIS,

Year Published: 2017

Characterizing sources of uncertainty from global climate models and downscaling techniques

In recent years climate model experiments have been increasingly oriented towards providing information that can support local and regional adaptation to the expected impacts of anthropogenic climate change. This shift has magnified the importance of downscaling as a means to translate coarse-scale global climate model (GCM) output to a finer...

Wootten, Adrienne; Terando, Adam; Reich, Brian J.; Boyles, Ryan; Semazzi, Fred
Attribution: Land Resources
Wootten, A., A. Terando, B. Reich, R. Boyles, and F. Semazzi, 0: Characterizing Sources of Uncertainty from Global Climate Models and Downscaling Techniques. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 0, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-17-0087.1

Year Published: 2017

The nexus of fun and nutrition: Recreational fishing is also about food

Recreational fishing is a popular activity in aquatic ecosystems around the globe using a variety of gears including rod and line and to a lesser extent handlines, spears, bow and arrow, traps and nets. Similar to the propensity to engage in voluntary catch-and-release, the propensity to harvest fishes strongly varies among cultures, locations,...

Cooke, Steven J.; Twardek, William M.; Lennox, Robert J.; Zolderdo, Aaron J.; Bower, Shannon D.; Gutowsky, Lee F. G.; Danylchuk, Andy J.; Arlinghaus, Robert; Beard, Douglas
Cooke SJ, Twardek WM, Lennox RJ, et al. The nexus of fun and nutrition: Recreational fishing is also about food. Fish Fish. 2017;00:1–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12246

Year Published: 2017

Defining ecological drought for the 21st century

No abstract available.

Crausbay, Shelley D.; Ramirez, Aaron R.; Carter, Shawn L.; Cross, Molly S.; Hall, Kimberly R.; Bathke, Deborah J.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Colt, Steve; Cravens, Amanda; Dalton, Melinda S.; Dunham, Jason B.; Hay, Lauren E.; Hayes, Michael J.; McEvoy, Jamie; McNutt, Chad A.; Moritz, Max A.; Nislow, Keith H.; Raheem, Nejem; Sanford, Todd
Crausbay, S.D., A.R. Ramirez, S.L. Carter, M.S. Cross, K.R. Hall, D.J. Bathke, J.L. Betancourt, S. Colt, A.E. Cravens, M.S. Dalton, J.B. Dunham, L.E. Hay, M.J. Hayes, J. McEvoy, C.A. McNutt, M.A. Moritz, K.H. Nislow, N. Raheem, and T. Sanford, 0: Defining ecological drought for the 21st century. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 0, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0292.1

Year Published: 2017

Climatic history of the northeastern United States during the past 3000 years

Many ecosystem processes that influence Earth system feedbacks, including vegetation growth, water and nutrient cycling, and disturbance regimes, are strongly influenced by multi-decadal to millennial-scale variations in climate that cannot be captured by instrumental climate observations. Paleoclimate information is therefore essential for...

Marlon, Jennifer R.; Pederson, Neil; Nolan, Connor; Goring, Simon; Shuman, Bryan; Robertson, Ann; Booth, Robert K.; Bartlein, Patrick J.; Berke, Melissa A.; Clifford, Michael; Cook, Edward; Dieffenbacher-Krall, Ann; Dietze, Michael C.; Hessl, Amy; Hubeny, J. Bradford; Jackson, Stephen T.; Marsicek, Jeremiah; McLachlan, Jason S.; Mock, Cary J.; Moore, David J. P.; Nichols, Jonathan M.; Peteet, Dorothy M.; Schaefer, Kevin; Trouet, Valerie; Umbanhowar, Charles; Williams, John W.; Yu, Zicheng
Marlon, J. R., Pederson, N., Nolan, C., Goring, S., Shuman, B., Booth, R., Bartlein, P. J., Berke, M. A., Clifford, M., Cook, E., Dieffenbacher-Krall, A., Dietze, M. C., Hessl, A., Hubeny, J. B., Jackson, S. T., Marsicek, J., McLachlan, J., Mock, C. J., Moore, D. J. P., Nichols, J., Robertson, A., Schaefer, K., Trouet, V., Umbanhowar, C., Williams, J. W., and Yu, Z.: Climatic history of the northeastern United States during the past 3000 years, Clim. Past Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2016-104, in review, 2016.

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.

Filter Total Items: 239
February 26, 2018

Landsat in Action - Forestry Research with Warren Cohen

Warren Cohen with the USDA Forest Service talks about the value of Landsat's long history of observations in monitoring and assessing forests.

February 23, 2018

Image of the Week - Olympic Skiing and Land Change

South Korea transformed a mountain forest into an Olympic skiing centre for the 2018 Winter Games. These images show that transformation.

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 (

February 22, 2018

Ungulates in a Warmer Climate

Researchers supported by NCCWSC are working to improve managers’ understanding of ungulates’ response to a warmer climate. For example, when surface water is unavailable, the water content within ungulates’ food provides them with their main source of water, and they must make resourceful foraging decisions to meet their water needs. Scientists researching desert bighorn

February 20, 2018

Terra MODIS Global Land Surface Temperature 2017

Observe changes in land surface temperature over the course of 2017, with Terra MODIS images. The images were created using the 8-day composite Terra MODIS LST data product (MOD11C2). To learn more about MODIS LST data, and other data products distributed by the LP DAAC, please visit https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/.

February 13, 2018

Getting Started with VIIRS Surface Reflectance Data Part 3

This video focuses on how to interpret quality information for Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Surface Reflectance data products created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). VIIRS is a sensor that flies on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite, which was launched as a partnership between the National

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

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

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 (

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.

Filter Total Items: 195
Date published: April 26, 2018

Senay, EROS Helping to Solve Riddle of Water Use in Upper Klamath Basin

Scientists at EROS use remote sensing data to assist in the understanding of water dynamics in Upper Klamath 

Date published: April 11, 2018

NOROCK Scientist Receives USGS Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science Communications

Research Ecologist Dan Fagre is the recipient of the 2017 Eugene M. Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communications

Date published: March 14, 2018

EROS Plays Major Role in Evolution of Lidar Technology and Applications

USGS has produced topographic maps of American landscapes for more than a century as part of its Congressional mandate to maintain the elevation data that helps document change across the Nation. The use of LiDAR, refined at EROS, is key to modern topography.

Date published: March 1, 2018

Illuminating the Past to Guide the Future

On a humid August morning in south-central Alaska, a group of scientists hiked for four miles along a horse trail armed with rifles and an order to make as much noise as possible.

Attribution: Land Resources
Date published: December 15, 2017

USGS and NASA Select New Landsat Science Team

The USGS and NASA have selected the scientists and engineers who will serve on the next Landsat Science Team. 

Date published: November 20, 2017

Satellite Imagery Aids Rescue Efforts for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Free and rapid imagery was provided through the USGS Hazard Data Distribution System.

Date published: November 17, 2017

New Map Showcases the Recreational, Mining and Historical Heart of Colorado

Bringing together decades of research and mapping, the U.S. Geological Survey just released a geologic map and companion pamphlet featuring the Arkansas River Valley region in north-central Colorado.  

Date published: November 15, 2017

USGS-NASA Pecora Award Recognizes Excellence in Earth Observation

Two awardees have been presented with the 2017 William T. Pecora Award for achievements in Earth remote sensing. 

Date published: November 8, 2017

Significant Milestone in Improving Usability of Landsat Satellite Data

Improvements to the quality and usability of Landsat satellite data have been made with the release of a new USGS product called Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD). 

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.

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