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

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: 198
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
Hoary marmots can be seen near large boulders in alpine meadows from Washington to Alaska.
September 13, 2017

Hoary marmots

Hoary marmots can be seen near large boulders in alpine meadows from Washington to Alaska. 

Panoramic image from Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park showing smoke from forest fires.
September 12, 2017

Panoramic image from Sperry Glacier in Glacier NP showing fire smoke.

Panoramic image from Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park showing smoke from forest fires. Information gathered by the USGS managed Sperry Weather Station are being used by regional fire managers to forecast fire weather and future fire behavior.

USGS scientist doing weather station repairs in Glacier National Park.
September 12, 2017

USGS scientist doing weather station repairs in Glacier National Park.

USGS scientist Erich Peitzsch does repair on the Sperry Weather Station in Glacier National Park. Information gathered by the USGS managed Sperry Weather Station are being used by regional fire managers to forecast fire weather and future fire behavior during the 2017 fire season. 

USGS weather station repair operations in Glacier NP.
September 12, 2017

USGS weather station repair operations in Glacier NP.

Crews perform repairs on the Sperry Weather Station as part of Fire Operations in Glacier National Park. Information gathered by the USGS managed Sperry Weather Station are being used by regional fire managers to forecast fire weather and future fire behavior during the 2017 fire season. 

September 8, 2017

Image of the Week: Hurricane Harvey Flooding

Hurricane Harvey dumped over 50 inches of rain near Houston, leaving extensive flooding throughout the area.

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/)...

Algal bloom off the coast of Brazil, Landsat 2017 image
September 5, 2017

Landsat 8 reveals algal bloom off Brazil's coast near Sao Paulo, 2017

In early September 2017, Landsat 8 captured this image of what looked like an oil spill off the coast of Brazil, near Sao Paulo. The "oil" turned out to be a vast algal bloom that covered more than 100 km. This bloom was the result of a species of tiny dinoflagellate that multiplied quickly to produce astronomical numbers -- enough to color the ocean water.

Filter Total Items: 180
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?

Date published: November 17, 2016

USGS, NASA Study Finds Widespread Coastal Land Losses from Gulf Oil Spill

A new USGS-NASA study found widespread shoreline loss along heavily oiled areas of Louisiana's coast after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and compared the erosion from the spill with coastal changes Hurricane Isaac caused in 2012.

Date published: November 16, 2016

USGS Study Reveals Interactive Effects of Climate Change, Invasive Species on Native Fish

A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.

Date published: November 11, 2016

EarthView–Landsat Monitors Gypsy Moth Damage

Twin satellite views show gypsy moth destruction in Rhode Island.

Date published: October 31, 2016

USGS to Chair Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS)

Working together to advance international coordination of Earth observation programs