Establishing Historical Land Cover

February 10, 2008 • USGS and NASA researchers teamed together in a highly ambitious effort to reconstruct historical land cover and biophysical parameters of the eastern U.S. Their resulting data sets will support future climate modeling, studies concerning the impact of historical land cover change on water, energy and carbon budgets (and cycles), as well as ecosystem dynamics research. Louis Steyaert and Robert Knox reconstructed maps of land cover and various biophysical parameters for the eastern U.S. circa 1650, 1850, 1920 and 1992 (at 20-km resolution). Their reconstruction relied on a wealth of inputs from census data, soil data, published historical land use information, and land cover classification information derived from Landsat data (National Land Cover Data 1992).

Science brief summary by: Laura E. P. Rocchio

Further reading:

Ancient Forest to Modern City: Mapping Landscape Change in the United States

Source: Steyaert, L. T., and Knox, R.G. (2008, January 16). Reconstructed historical land cover and biophysical parameters for studies of land-atmosphere interactions within the eastern United States. Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 113, DO2101.