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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: 70
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...

Date published: May 2, 2016
Status: Active

Dendrochronology of Coastal Forests to Evaluate Impacts of Wind and Surge from Hurricane Sandy

The science of dating growth rings and history of live and fossil wood samples is called dendrochronology. This technique is valuable for conducting climate reconstructions where meteorological data is lacking and for detecting past disturbance events such as tropical storms and hurricanes.

Date published: May 2, 2016

Assessing Treefall Patterns and Causal Relations of Wind and Surge from Hurricane Sandy

As tropical storms and hurricanes move onshore and make landfall, wind and storm surge can be sufficiently high to damage built-infrastructure and natural systems, most notably coastal forests at the interface of land and sea.

Date published: May 2, 2016
Status: Active

Aerial Videography Overflights of Forest Cover and Impact from Hurricane Sandy along the Atlantic Coast, USA

High resolution imagery (aerial videography) was obtained of Hurricane Sandy to assess forest damage by documenting disturbed canopy and downed trees. 

Date published: April 18, 2016
Status: Active

Hurricane Sandy Surge and Marsh Dieback in the New Jersey Coastal Zone

Detection of storm surge impacts on coastal marshes requires regional or broader mapping of surge flooding above and below the wetland canopy and estimation of abnormal change in wetland condition.

Contacts: Amina Rangoonwala, Elijah Ramsey , III, Ph.D., Nicholas Enright
Date published: April 18, 2016

Joint Research on Water and Sedimentation Changes and Potential Impacts on Biodiversity along the Porsuk River, Turkey

The Porsuk River floodplain near Eskisehir, Turkey contains a large number of wetlands, which have been managed by humans for millennia.

Date published: April 18, 2016

Long-term Trends in Swamp Tree Growth across Drought and Salinity Gradients along the Northern Gulf Coast

This study will examine the potential effects of climate-change-induced sea level rise, drought and water extraction by examining tree growth patterns across the Gulf Coast, specifically targeting long-term research plots available in the North American Baldcypress Swamp Network (NABCSN) and the Suwannee River.

Date published: April 17, 2016

Climate Envelope Modeling for Evaluating Anticipated Effects of Climate Change on Threatened and Endangered Species

Modeling both potential changes in climate and responses of species and habitats can increase certainty in management decisions by helping managers to understand the range of possible species and habitat responses under different alternative futures. Climate envelope modeling is one type of modeling that can be useful in understanding species and habitat responses to climate change because it...

Date published: April 17, 2016

Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) Climate Scenarios and Species Vulnerability Assessment

Peninsular Florida is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in the United States. With complex socioeconomic and ecology dynamics and a large number of governing agencies involved in conservation planning, USGS worked to created an appropriate framework for landscape conservation cooperative-scale decision-making across current conservation planning agencies and jurisdictions...

Date published: April 17, 2016
Status: Active

Coral Bleaching and Disease: Effects on Threatened Corals and Reefs

Severe coral bleaching in 2005, followed by a disease outbreak, resulted in severe reef degradation in the US Virgin Islands; the amount of living coral cover at long-term monitoring sites decreased an average of 60%. With climate change, high seawater temperatures are expected to lead to more frequent bleaching episodes and possibly more disease outbreaks. 

Date published: April 17, 2016

Macroclimatic Controls of Coastal Wetland Ecosystem Structure and Function

At the global-scale, macroclimatic drivers govern ecosystem structure and function in tidal saline wetlands (e.g., salt marshes, mangrove forests, salt flats). However, global reviews and models for these ecosystems typically do not directly include climatic drivers. The objective of this research is to examine and forecast the effects of macroclimatic drivers on wetland ecosystem structure...

Date published: April 17, 2016

Geographical Trends in Ecosystem Function and Biodiversity of Wetlands as a Surrogate for Climate Change

Extreme drought and temperature in the southeastern United States may become more frequent in the future, and any  extreme shifts in climate condition are likely to have effects on wetland ecosystem function. USGS research predicts the effects of climate change by shifts in function and biodiversity across existing  climate gradients in baldcypress swamps. 

Filter Total Items: 42
Year Published: 2014

Chemical mixtures in potable water in the U.S.

In recent years, regulators have devoted increasing attention to health risks from exposure to multiple chemicals. In 1996, the US Congress directed the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study mixtures of chemicals in drinking water, with a particular focus on potential interactions affecting chemicals' joint toxicity. The task is...

Ryker, Sarah J.
Attribution: Land Resources
SJ Ryker, 2013, Chemical Mixtures in Potable Water in the U.S.: Comprehensive Water Quality and Purification vol. 1, Status and Trends of Water Quality Worldwide, Elsevier, ed. S Ahuja, 267-277.

Year Published: 2014

The impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems: chapter 6

In this chapter we stress two important features of coasts and coastal ecosystems. First, these are dynamic systems which continually undergo adjustments, especially through erosion and re-deposition, in response to a range of processes. Many coastal ecosystems adjust naturally at a range of time scales and their potential for response is examined...

Burkett, Virginia; Woodroffe, Colin D.; Nicholls, Robert J.; Forbes, Donald L.
Attribution: Land Resources
The impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems: chapter 6; 2014; Book chapter; Book; Oceans and human health: implications for society and well-being; Burkett, Virginia; Woodroffe, Colin D.; Nicholls, Robert J.; Forbes, Donald L.

Year Published: 2014

Perception, experience, and indigenous knowledge of climate change and variability: the case of Accra, a sub-Saharan African city

Several recent international assessments have concluded that climate change has the potential to reverse the modest economic gains achieved in many developing countries over the past decade. The phenomenon of climate change threatens to worsen poverty or burden populations with additional hardships, especially in poor societies with weak...

Codjoe, Samuel N.A.; Owusu, George; Burkett, Virginia
Attribution: Land Resources
Perception, experience, and indigenous knowledge of climate change and variability: the case of Accra, a sub-Saharan African city; 2014; Article; Journal; Regional Environmental Change; Codjoe, Samuel N.A.; Owusu, George; Burkett, Virginia

Year Published: 2014

Uncertainty and extreme events in future climate and hydrologic projections for the Pacific Northwest: providing a basis for vulnerability and core/corridor assessments

The purpose of this project was to (1) provide an internally-consistent set of downscaled projections across the Western U.S., (2) include information about projection uncertainty, and (3) assess projected changes of hydrologic extremes. These objectives were designed to address decision support needs for climate adaptation and resource...

Littell, Jeremy S.; Mauger, Guillaume S.; Salathe, Eric P.; Hamlet, Alan F.; Lee, Se-Yeun; Stumbaugh, Matt R.; Elsner, Marketa; Norheim, Robert; Lutz, Eric R.; Mantua, Nathan J.
Uncertainty and extreme events in future climate and hydrologic projections for the Pacific Northwest: providing a basis for vulnerability and core/corridor assessments; 2014; Organization Series; Littell, Jeremy S.; Mauger, Guillaume S.; Salathe, Eric P.; Hamlet, Alan F.; Lee, Se-Yeun; Stumbaugh, Matt R.; Elsner, Marketa; Norheim, Robert; Lutz, Eric R.; Mantua, Nathan J.

Year Published: 2013

Executive summary: Climate change in the northwest: Implications for our landscapes, waters, and communities

Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for Our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities is aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about key climate impacts and consequences to various sectors and communities in the northwest United States. It draws on a wealth of peer-reviewed literature, earlier state-level assessment reports conducted for...

Dalton, Meghan M.; Bethel, Jeffrey; Capalbo, Susan M.; Cuhaciyan, J.E.; Eigenbrode, Sanford D.; Glick, Patty; Houston, Laurie L.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Lynn, Kathy; Mote, Philip W.; Raymondi, Rick R.; Reeder, W. Spencer; Shafer, Sarah L.; Snover, Amy K.
Executive summary: Climate change in the northwest: Implications for our landscapes, waters, and communities; 2013; Book chapter; Book; Climate change in the northwest: Implications for our landscapes, waters, and communities; Dalton, Meghan M.; Bethel, Jeffrey; Capalbo, Susan M.; Cuhaciyan, J. E.; Eigenbrode, Sanford D.; Glick, Patty; Houston, Laurie L.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Lynn, Kathy; Mote, Philip W.; Raymondi, Rick R.; Reeder, W. Spencer; Shafer, Sarah L.; Snover, Amy K.

Year Published: 2013

Choosing and using climate change scenarios for ecological-impact assessments and conservation decisions

Increased concern over climate change is demonstrated by the many efforts to assess climate effects and develop adaptation strategies. Scientists, resource managers, and decision makers are increasingly expected to use climate information, but they struggle with its uncertainty. With the current proliferation of climate simulations and downscaling...

Amy K. Snover; Nathan J. Mantua; Littell, Jeremy; Michael A. Alexander; Michelle M. McClure; Janet Nye

Year Published: 2013

Forest ecosystems: Vegetation, disturbance, and economics: Chapter 5

Forests cover about 47% of the Northwest (NW–Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) (Smith et al. 2009, fig. 5.1, table 5.1). The impacts of current and future climate change on NW forest ecosystems are a product of the sensitivities of ecosystem processes to climate and the degree to which humans depend on and interact with those systems. Forest...

Littell, Jeremy S.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Shafer, Sarah L.; Capalbo, Susan M.; Houston, Laurie L.; Glick, Patty
Forest ecosystems: Vegetation, disturbance, and economics: Chapter 5; 2013; Book chapter; Book; Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for Our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities; Littell, Jeremy S.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Shafer, Sarah L.; Capalbo, Susan M.; Houston, Laurie L.; Glick, Patty

Year Published: 2013

A high-resolution bioclimate map of the world: a unifying framework for global biodiversity research and monitoring

Aim: To develop a novel global spatial framework for the integration and analysis of ecological and environmental data. Location: The global land surface excluding Antarctica. Methods: A broad set of climate-related variables were considered for inclusion in a quantitative model, which partitions geographic space into bioclimate regions....

Metzger, Marc J.; Bunce, Robert G.H.; Jongman, Rob H.G.; Sayre, Roger G.; Trabucco, Antonio; Zomer, Robert
Attribution: Land Resources
A high-resolution bioclimate map of the world: a unifying framework for global biodiversity research and monitoring; 2013; Article; Journal; Global Ecology and Biogeography; Metzger, Marc J.; Bunce, Robert G. H.; Jongman, Rob H. G.; Sayre, Roger ; Trabucco, Antonio ; Zomer, Robert

Year Published: 2013

Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Amery Ice Shelf area, Antarctica: 1961–2004

Reduction in the area and volume of Earth’s two polar ice sheets is intricately linked to changes in global climate and to the resulting rise in sea level. Measurement of changes in area and mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet was given a very high priority in recommendations by the Polar Research Board of the National Research Council. On the...

Foley, Kevin M.; Ferrigno, Jane G.; Swithinbank, Charles; Williams, Richard S.; Orndorff, Audrey L.
Attribution: Land Resources
Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Amery Ice Shelf area, Antarctica: 1961–2004; 2013; I; 2600-Q; Foley, Kevin M.; Ferrigno, Jane G.; Swithinbank, Charles ; Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Orndorff, Audrey L.

Year Published: 2013

Water quality status and trends in the United States

Information about water quality is vital to ensure long-term availability and sustainability of water that is safe for drinking and recreation and suitable for industry, irrigation, fish, and wildlife. Protecting and enhancing water quality is a national priority, requiring information on water-quality status and trends, progress toward clean...

Ahuja, Satinder; Larsen, Matthew C.; Hamilton, Pixie A.; Werkheiser, William H.

Year Published: 2012

Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

The coast has long provided communities with a multitude of benefits including an abundance of natural resources that sustain economies, societies, and ecosystems. Coasts provide natural harbors for commerce, trade, and transportation; beaches and shorelines that attract residents and tourists; and wetlands and estuaries that are critical for...

Burkett, Virginia; Davidson, Margaret; Burkett, Virginia; Davidson, Margaret
Attribution: Land Resources
Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment; 2012; Book; Book series; National Climate Assessment regional technical input reports; edited by Burkett, Virginia; Davidson, Margaret

Year Published: 2012

Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana

Although sub-Saharan Africa does not contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, significant adverse impacts of climate change are anticipated in this region. Countries in West Africa, which are heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, are projected to experience more frequent and intense droughts, altered rainfall patterns and...

Codjoe, Samuel N.A.; Atidoh, Lucy K.; Burkett, Virginia
Attribution: Land Resources
Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana; 2012; Article; Journal; Climatic Change; Codjoe, Samuel N.A.; Atidoh, Lucy K.; Burkett, Virginia

Filter Total Items: 198
sediment trap mooring deployed in the Gulf of Mexico
December 31, 2017

sediment trap mooring deployed in the Gulf of Mexico

The sediment trap mooring deployed in the Gulf of Mexico (27.5 ºN, 90.3 ºW) at 700 meters water depth from 2008-2018. It is programmed to rotate every 7-14 days throughout the year, resulting in a weekly to bi-weekly resolution time series of sinking particle flux. 

December 31, 2017

Landsat Collections

Landsat Collections: Providing a Stable Environmental Record for Time Series Analysis

This video introduces 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...

Glacier off Sargent Icefield
December 31, 2017

Glacier off Sargent Icefield

Landscape view of an un-named glacier off the Sargent Icefield, directly across from Wolverine Glacier, above the Nellie Juan River, in Alaska. Taken during a visit to a wolverine glacier field site as part of a study to examine how alpine areas are changing as temperatures rise in Alaska. 

December 31, 2017

Getting Started with MODIS Version 6 Therm. Anom. & Fire Data Part 1

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).  Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, changes between the Version 5 and Version...

quadcopter (drone) and camera ready for launch
December 31, 2017

Quadcopter's photos can be used to measure dune erosion

The 3DR Solo with GoPro Hero4 camera and gimbal. Coming to a survey area near you soon. Photo credit: Shawn Harrison, USGS. This photo was taken during USGS unmanned aerial systems (drone) pilot training. Two training sessions were held - one in February-March 2017 in Santa Cruz, California and the second in April 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. This photo originally was...

December 31, 2017

Getting Started with MODIS Version 6 Therm. Anom. and Fire Data Part 2

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).  Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, the thematic fire mask classes, and using...

December 31, 2017

Getting Started with MODIS Version 6 Therm. Anom. & Fire Data Part 3

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about MODIS Thermal Anomalies and Fire quality information, including how to decode quality bits, tools for...

multicores
December 31, 2017

Multicores

Multicores collected from the northern Gulf of Mexico. These cores contain roughly 1 meter of sediment from the seafloor, and represent the past ~2000 years of deposition. USGS scientists slice these cores in 5 mm increments, and analyze the chemical composition of microfossils (e.g., foraminifera) and molecular fossils (e.g., alkenones, GDGTs, leaf waxes, etc.), to generate paleoclimate...

Rainbow Glacier perimeter: 1966, 1998, 2005, 2015.
December 31, 2017

Rainbow Glacier perimeter: 1966, 1998, 2005, 2015.

This image shows the perimeter of Rainbow Glacier in Glacier National Park: 1966, 1998, 2005, 2015. 

December 14, 2017

Landsat in Action - Changing Forest Phenology with Andrew Elmore

When parking lots go up, when rooftops multiply, land cover and land uses change. Professor Andrew Elmore with the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science understands that very well, and explains how he uses Landsat to study and quantify that change in USGS EROS’ latest “Landsat in Action” video conversation. Elmore delves into the changing phenology of forests and how that...

November 30, 2017

Majuro Atoll — Topobathymetric Model

This video is of is a three-dimensional (3D) view of the Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands topobathymetric model which consists of topography (land elevation) and bathymetry (water depth). This video shows the importance of high-resolution, detailed topobathymetric models because the highest natural elevation for the Majuro Atoll is only three meters. This video shows how the...

November 29, 2017

LandsatLook Viewer — Advanced Features

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use some advanced features in the LandsatLook Viewer. The site can be found at: http://landsatlook.usgs.gov/
 

Filter Total Items: 180
Date published: April 24, 2017

Mapping the World’s Ocean Ecosystems

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. 

Date published: April 14, 2017

Freshwater Ecosystems are an Important Part of the Alaskan Carbon Cycle

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.

Date published: April 2, 2017

Landsat Monitors Mining at Center of North America, Near Town of Center

Today, Landsat shows us the evolution of the coal industry near North America & North Dakota’s Center...

Date published: March 24, 2017

Cambodia Experiences Rapid Rate of Forest Loss

In this week's Landsat view, Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 show how significant Cambodia's deforestation has been in the last few decades.

Date published: March 24, 2017

New “Landsat Collections” Help Facilitate Land Change Science

Access to consistent high-quality images to study changes on Earth’s surface is getting easier. The USGS Landsat standard (Level-1) product inventory is now structured by data quality and offers improved calibration. Data designated as Tier 1 provide the highest accuracy and can be reliably used to analyze changes to Earth’s surface over time.

Date published: March 16, 2017

Landsat Detects Eruptions at Ethiopian Volcano

Our image of the week is of Ethiopia’s erupting Gateway to Hell.

Date published: February 27, 2017

Successful Maneuver Spells Beginning of the End for Landsat 7

On Tuesday, February 7, Landsat 7’s Flight Operations Team fired the spacecraft’s 1-pound thrusters for about 13 minutes. After a pause of about 7½ hours, the thrusters fired a second time for about 13 minutes.This was the last such maneuver for Landsat 7 and the beginning of the end for the satellite, which has provided images of the earth’s changing resources for more than 17 years. 

Date published: February 23, 2017

Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . .

Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, bringing relatively early ‘signs of spring’ to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.

Date published: February 23, 2017

Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . .

Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, already bringing surprising signs of spring to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.

Date published: February 21, 2017

EarthView–Wildfires Ravage Central, South-Central Chile

Landsat gives us a view of one of the worst wildfires in Chile's history.

Date published: February 13, 2017

Landsat Eyes Help Guard the World’s Forests

“We’re seeing the loss of forests in many places,” said Matthew Hansen, a professor at the University of Maryland. “Dynamics include increasing tropical deforestation, more frequent and severe boreal forest fires, disease in temperate forests and the commoditization of subtropical forests.”

Date published: February 10, 2017

EarthView–January Rain, Snow Refills California Reservoirs

See a decade of California drought ease in this EarthView from Landsat.